With the release of Football Manager on the horizon, players currently on the PC beta have discovered a neat new feature that sees the possibility of players coming out as openly gay during gameplay.
Confirming the discovery via Twitter, studio director Miles Jacobson said that a player coming out gives a 'nice little boost' to merchandise sales for a club, due to the extra supporter base – as per their own evidence of what they've seen happen in the real sport.
Additionally, only "newgens" – fictional players who are added to the game at the end of every virtual season – will come out, as the team didn't 'didn't want to be wrongly outing' any players who may or may not be gay in real life.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror about the feature, Jacobson said that it was implemented after speaking with anti-discrimination group Kick it Out as well as figures in the football industry who had themselves come out, such as Southampton's player liaison officer Hugo Scheckter who came out in 2016. Jacobson said, 'He gets a lot of credit for this and we did speak to him about this feature before we put it in the game. We didn’t really have a way to do things until we were able to hear the stories directly from people in the sport who have come out.'
The team were also inspired to include the feature after the response to last year's addition of Brexit to the 2017 edition of the game, saying 'It helped us realise we can be a bit more outward in our thinking in trying to make the world a better place' and to that end actually didn't intend to announce the feature themselves, being careful not to mention it in any of the game's marketing in an attempt to 'normalise the issue.'
'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.'
Football Manager 2018 releases on the 10th November for the PC.