There will be no console version of Football Manager 2009 because the control system on last year's 360 game "was crap", Sports Interactive MD Miles Jacobson has revealed.
Speaking during the game's unveiling in London last night, Jacobson said that the team may one day return the series to consoles, taking inspiration from 2K Games' critically acclaimed console strategy game Civilization Revolution.
He said: "We thought we'd improved a lot last year. It was still too hard to use. So we decided to have at least a year off on the 360 this year. The good news is that there's been one game that was similar to us on the PC that's come out and really nailed a good control system for quite a complicated system, which was Civilization Revolution. So we'll probably look at it again in the future. But we really wanted to concentrate on the 3D engine this year and getting that nailed and the other improvements that have gone in rather than thinking about the consoles this year."
The news follows a troubled time for the home console version of Football Manager. The 360 version of Football Manager 2008 was delayed by a number of months and didn't release until March. And the 360 version of FM 2007 drew some criticism from gamers who found navigating the game's interface sluggish and frustrating.
In our 2007 interview with Jacobson, he told us that the 360 delay was due to the team working on the game's control method and interface. It seems that the team still hasn't found a solution to the console interface problem.
When we caught up with Jacobson after his presentation to media in London last night we asked him if he had any message to console owners disappointed by the news.
He replied: "I hope you have laptops as well! The game wasn't exactly the best-selling game on Xbox 360 ever. So while I'm sure there will be some people who are disappointed by the fact that we're not doing one, we didn't think the quality was good enough. I wouldn't want to be duping anyone into buying a game that we didn't think was good enough. At the time we finished it we thought it was. When we were sitting at home playing it, it just didn't feel right. So if we are going to go back to consoles in the future we're going to have to think about things very very hard about what to do. But for the time being we've got to concentrate on the PC game, the Mac game, the PSP game and Football Manager Live and see what happens from that."
You can read our interview with Miles Jacobson right here.