1998 Krisalis / Psygnosis / Eidos
Contributor Niklas Lindholm has been trying to solve a mystery about a football management game that would just disappear completely without a trace.
Krisalis had already previously had released a title called PFA Player of the Year back in 1996, and tried to make extra use of the PFA licence by creating yet another management title called PFA Soccer Manager. This would be a management game built to run in Windows 95, making use of the codebase and interface style. However, they state that console versions were to be planned.
Niklas informs us that development was started from around 1995/96, and details of the game (including screenshots) were on their website for a few years (even previews in magazines of the time).
However, it completely disappeared – and looking back on the Wayback machine for their old website, Niklas found that the game was listed as released in 1998 by Psygnosis, but then disappeared completely off the listing in 2000 (see screens below). Perhaps Psygnosis had initially signed it, and then pulled out and it was added to the site in error as completed?
Interestingly, we find a mention of “PFA Soccer Manager” in Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) issue 41, where the game is listed as due out for the PlayStation 1 in February 1999 from Eidos. Was this really the same game ported over, or a completely separate development? A game of that title never made it to the PlayStation, but Eidos did release “FA Manager” just months later in June 1999. Who was it developed by? None other than Krisalis Software! So we now confidently can say that PFA Soccer Manager must have surely made it out on the PlayStation, just with a name change.
What of the PC version? Well, this needs to be confirmed, but our belief is that because the game was developed using “Windows 95 protocol” (as Krisalis state on their old website), this may have caused issues when it came to making it available on Windows 98 – an updated OS that was coming out around that time. Perhaps they found that they’d have to re-write a lot of the code again and felt it wasn’t financially viable? It could also be due to not being able to find a suitable publisher, though surely Eidos would have taken a PC edition too at that time?
Hopefully something of the Windows 95 edition can be found some day, as an interesting curiosity at least for football fans.
Credits: With thanks to Niklas Lindholm for his research and images.