John Jennings is the producer of LMA Manager 2007, the football management game which is the official video-game of League Manager Association in UK.
Can you please introduce yourself first briefly and tell us what are you doing exactly at Codemasters?
John Jennings: I’m John Jennings, executive producer at Codemasters. In my job I’m responsible for running the studio that handles the internal development of our sports titles (namely LMA Manager and Brian Lara Cricket).
Please let us know some about the key features of upcoming LMA Manager 2007, what is the biggest difference between LMA Manager 06 and 07?
John Jennings: This is the first time we’ve developed a version for PC and Xbox360, so the limits of the old PS2 are now removed. The game is now much larger than previous versions we did on PS2/Xbox, now with more than 50 countries.
We’ve also added in a great new feature where you can watch the match highlights of all games that have been played on a day, rather than just your own match as in previous versions of the game. On Xbox360 and PC the graphics on the matchdays are a whole level above what we’ve done previously on PS2 and Xbox, so it’s by far the best looking version yet. On Xbox360 we’ve also added in surround sound support to recreate that big-match feel.
How big are the team and player databases of the game?
John Jennings: There are players from over 50 countries in the game. Around 900 clubs and 29,000 players in total.
Are you allowed to use the real names for the teams/players?
John Jennings: We license the correct player names from FIFPro, so you’ll find the correct player names in the game. In nearly all countries the club names are correct but in Germany and Spain we’ve had to modify the team names a bit because of licensing restrictions. On the PC version players can modify the team names though.
Was there any inspiration for the version 2007 taken from other football-management games like FIFA Manager?
John Jennings: Not really. Of course we look at other games the whenever one comes out, but we’ve always set our own direction for LMA. One thing I would say though is that features such as Fantasy Club mode and Dugout Commands appeared in LMA long before they appeared in FIFA Manager.
The game will be released in 5 languages, can we expect to see more languages in future?
John Jennings: We’ve no plans at the moment, but the text in the PC version is easily modifiable so there’s little to stop dedicated fans from producing their own additional translations.
Are you planning to release a special version of LMA Manager for PS3?
John Jennings: At the moment we’re just focusing on finishing the versions of LMA 2007 for Xbox360, PC and PS2.
Have you ever thought about a football video game (non-management) in LMA style?
John Jennings: At Codemasters we’ve a history of football actions games. You’ll remember the Club Football series of games and I’m really looking forward to playing the new version of Sensible Soccer when it’s released soon.
Are you a football fan too – what is your favourite team/club?
John Jennings: Sure, in this job you have to be. I support Swansea City, currently languishing in League One in England. I’m still hurting from the penalty shoot-out loss in the play-offs last weekend. Hopefully we’ll get automatic promotion to the Championship next season.