I won’t bang on about it, but if you’re into football and you haven’t played it, downstall New Star Soccer into your device immediately (but not if you have exams or important stuff coming up – this thing will eat your life). It beat some big guns to win a BAFTA Games award earlier this year, in a victory pleasingly comparable to, say, Rotherham United beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
If you’ve played the game you’ll know there are elements of New Star Soccer that could be improved. And, like any good modern-day outfit, the company behind the game tends to ask for opinions/suggestions from users through sozialmedia. I happened to have some time on my hands, so I submitted my suggestions regarding incorporating players’ retirement age into the game on their Facebook page.
They were warmly received by the person behind the feed, who I believe is the game’s creator, Simon Read. I reproduce them here for posterity/royalties should they be taken up in the next update of the game.
The original question was:
Have given this a bit of thought, and I think there’s a way of combining retirement with a rewarding continuation of the compelling gameplay. It goes like this.
1. Introduce a ‘Marriage’ option, so you can make an honest WAG of your girlfriend.
2. Let’s say marriage happens at age 24, and then there’s a ‘Breed’ option at age 25. For the purposes of reality your child will need to be a son (hey, I don’t make the rules on who plays in the Premiership/Football league).
3. By the time you reach age 41, your child will be 16. At this point you retire and start to play as your son instead.
4. Your son, unable to escape being compared to his legendary father, faces a more challenging route to the top. Perhaps there could be a mini-game in which the son tries to minimise mentions of his father’s name in media reports, etc. Maybe he turns to drugs as a way to cope, and you need to play a mini-game to complete a successful stint in rehab.
5. The son overcomes these obstacles and gradually forges his own career. Unbeknownst to him (you), in parallel to this, the father (i.e. you in your previous life) has begun a career in management. At some point the son has to make the decision of whether to join a club managed by Pops.
6. Users will be unable to resist trying this out. However, again here there are complications to overcome. Maybe the father thinks the young ‘un has it too easy compared to back in his own day, and he drops him. Maybe he farms his son out on loan to a North Korean club, to teach him a lesson for that time he got drunk at age 14 and vomited on the family’s precious Persian rug. Perhaps the father sleeps with the son’s girlfriend. (I’m just spitballing here.)
7. A calamitous falling-out ensues. The son leaves the club acrimoniously, and joins the arch rivals of the club the father manages. Mini-game: protecting your beautiful mock-tudor mansion from the attentions of angry fans.
8. The derby games between the son’s team and the father’s team are volatile affairs, and you’ll need all your cunning and self-discipline to convince your own fans of your love for your new club while avoiding being sent off.
9. Next, the son marries his own WAG, and the following year his wife gives birth. But this time: TWINS.
10. In this way, the game can continue in perpetuity, with a growing family tree of increasingly emotionally damaged young footballers helplessly following in the footsteps of their legendary ancestors.
11. If you play for long enough, every match within the game will feature a complex series of familial sub-plots, in which wronged siblings seek vengeance against inbred/illegitimate cousins, and so on. I see weapons featuring at some point.
12. This opens the door to an enhanced level of in-match violence, which will surely just be a reflection of how society – and therefore the beautiful game – will look by the year 2230.
I haven’t really thought through how all this impacts on the protagonist’s international prospects, but I would have thought Robocop-style body armour would be a no-brainer by this point, as it would allow FIFA to up its game against the by-now dominant UEFA Champions League.
Happy to work together to flesh this out, Simon/New Star Games.