Releasing on November 10th will be the latest game from one of the biggest sporting franchises in the world, Football Manager 2018. And in a surprise twist, it looks like the devs have included a secret feature that will allow some of the fictional players within the game to come out of the closet.
The football (soccer) management game features big rosters of real life players who eventually retire from the game and in turn are replaced by fictional characters. News events pop up throughout the course of the management / simulation game and it is here that a fictional character may be revealed as gay.
In a chat with the BBC Sport, the game’s director, Miles Jacobson, stated that:
“Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers”.
“I find it weird that it’s still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing.”
“It’s not a message that everyone is going to see in their game. It is quite rare, but we want it to be seen as a positive thing.”
This may seem like an odd inclusion to some, but when you examine the professional state of many sporting scenes it begins to make sense. More and more reports are coming out about gay players within professional sports who only come out of the closet once retired, if ever. With so many sporting professionals out there it only makes sense that a good proportion of those will be gay, yet very very few are actually out of the closet.
“Being gay is just a totally normal thing in life, and it’s the right thing to put it in the game because it’s something that we’re going to be seeing in the future.”
“We are not going to be able to change the mind of someone who is homophobic, we don’t have that power, and if someone has that issue and decides not to buy the game for that reason then to be honest I feel really sorry for them”.
“I do think it’s about time that footballers who are entertaining people around the world every week are actually allowed to be themselves rather than act as someone that they’re not.”
“I look forward to the day where people who work in football feel 100% comfortable with who they are, whatever their ethnicity, religion, or sexuality.”
It’s good to see Sports Interactive allowing for this small but meaningful inclusion. Whether it helps those within professional sports feel more comfortable or not is yet to be seen. But at the very least it’s a small step forward for normalising what should be a non-controversial action.