Although we release a version of Football Manager each year, there are always some features that take longer than the one year cycle to get right. The 3d match viewer introduced in FM2009 was being worked on in various guises for 3 years before it was unleashed onto the world. Last year’s competition editor was in the works for a long while, as was dynamic reputation.

With FM12, we introduce something that has also been worked on for a few years, and it’s something that’s been requested a lot in the last couple of years, particularly amongst those that tend to have long term career games.

It’s always been the case that the more leagues you have running in the game at any time, the slower time will seem to move, due to all of the extra matches to be played, and data to process. That meant that, for people who want to be able to move around Football Manager’s 50+ playable countries leagues, they would be getting a slower experience than those who, say, just want to manage in the Scottish Premier league.

You now have the ability to add and remove countries to your saved game each season.

For those of you who have been following the different announcements for Football Manager 2012, you’ll know this already, of course. But we’re still getting lots of questions about exactly how it works so, hopefully, this blog will explain that!

Essentially, at any time during the season, you can go to the “add/remove” league, and choose a countries league, or a level of a countries league, and, err, add or remove it.

If you add a new league, or a new level to a league (and by that I mean that if you’d started a game running just the top division in a country, and wanted to add the next level down should it be available in the game), it tells you the date that the league will become active, which tends to be a few weeks in game before the league is due to start.

But where do all the players come from? Anyone who has played the game in the past will know that with inactive leagues, not all the teams have full squads like they do if the league is active. So if you’re 5 seasons into your career, and decide to add another league, surely those teams won’t have enough players and the whole game world will be imbalanced?

That was probably the hardest part of adding this feature in to crack, but crack it we have. What happens is that when the league is added, it works out exactly how players would have progressed in the game should they have been playing in active leagues. It doesn’t play out all the previous seasons’ matches, as that would make it a very slow and long process, but the players skills will change as though they were there all along – including youth players being released by clubs if they aren’t good enough, and players retiring if they get old.

Also, if you add a league some 20 years into your game, it is unlikely that many players from the original DB still survive, so the game also knows how to fill such teams with older newgen players, to simulate newgens that would have come through the club youth scheme if the league had been active all along.

Taking leagues away is also easy, so if you aren’t happy with the speed of your game, you can remove a countries league, or just a level of the league.

You can also use this feature with custom leagues, ones that you can make with the Football Manager data editor, or download others edited leagues online, although they need to be in place when you first start the game.

And if you are someone who plays the demo before release and then like to continues their demo saved game with the full game, you'll be able to add leagues to this save too.