FML was the best game ever! I think the idea though was it was supposed to appeal to a larger audience who would play casually every now and then, but the appeal ended up being with a smaller audience who were extremely hardcore, spending several hours a day with massive squads of every age group. It was thoroughly absorbing though and I've never got into an online game as much as I did that one.
Subscriber numbers suffered though and I think the server costs were too large to justify continuation, but many of us thought it wasn't advertised rigourously enough. Then they called it a day - no-one really knows whether it was SI or Sega who decided. I think SI were genuinely gutted though and they were actually mid way through a new update ready for release.
Nowadays, FMO is the next big thing similar to this - but only if you live in South Korea - and I think that casual emphasis is meant to play a big part there. If successful, SI may look to roll it out but not until the distant future, and no guarantees of that.
Otherwise, I don't know of any like titles either - I still look every now and then to see if I've missed some kind of FML announcement of its return - a bit optimistic I know. It's just painful to know the best game out there is just sitting, ready, and waiting to be switched on again. I think a re-release would be great business as the game was getting just about perfect at the time it went off. Maybe some kind of option could be found if the server costs could be cut (don't know how much the new cloud technology costs?) or just fantasy world only ran to save on the licence fees of real named players. We can but hope!!
Agree with Bradley- the FM series pales in all comparison to FML. It was unquestionably the best game I've ever played. I haven't bought FM12 because of my objections to Steam, but if FML were available only on Steam, I'd give Valve my soul in a heartbeat.
Unfortunately, when it was shut down, it seemed pretty clear that there were no plans for it to ever come back. And, considering it "failed" again following the red-button reset, I can't believe that stance is going to change any time soon.
As has been stated, there is FMO, but you'd have to be more Korean than I to understand that. There is one other game I know of which I played for a little while and has a half-decent stab at being an online football management MMO, but the addictiveness of FML is completely absent, and playing it is like living on fish fingers after the diet of caviar that was FML.
Oh, the FML forum was like a warzone, no doubt about it, and there were all kinds of problems with it- I don't deny that. The game was trying to be far too many things to too many different people- it could never satisfy both the XBL teenies who want instant gratification AND the dedicated hardcore FM'ers, and it ended up falling somewhere in the middle. The update schedule, forced by the player base, was also entirely unrealistic, meaning a bunch of features were poorly or half-heartedly implemented, and the marketing of it was questionable (as I'm reading was also the case for EHM, which seems to have suffered a similar fate). But the potential! Oh, the potential!
It captured the most important part of FM- it was still addictive as hell, and it had the FM database and engine to back it up. It gave you so much freedom, to do what you like with your club, to run competitions as you liked, or to just hang out in the lobby and chat about whatever with other people. It created communities- it was like being down the pub, having a pint, watching the game. Hell, I still talk to a lot of people I met in the Valderrama GW over Facebook, and I'm sure that's true for people across all GWs. It was absolutely gutting that the plug was pulled, as I'm not sure there'll ever be anything which manages to capture that spirit- the football camaraderie- in quite the same way.
FML failed in my eyes because of so many updates. You could build a squad and be flying high in the league and then all of a sudden SI would bring out an update that changed the match engine and wage systems and boom you were at stage 1 again. I also think SI ended up trying to hard to get the casual users to play more instead of supporting the few hardcore users it had and they kept opening to many gameworlds because the casuals got board after a few seasons of beatings and wanted a fresh start over and over again. In the end they just overdid everything, messed up wages and finances etc, the game also failed because of SI not listening to or supporting the loyal members and instead arsing about trying to make the game for people who had already left.
I reckon as a treat to their loyal gamers, and some good PR for themselves, SI could introduce a '12 days of Christmas' competition.
Basically, get all FM players interested, switch on the FML servers nearer Xmas, have a mass competition (cup/league or whatever) - bring that real sense of in-play community back, give the old FML'ers something to lessen our pain. Maybe have a little prize at the end for winners. Servers can go off after Xmas. Everyone's happy.
SI can then assess the interest, if there's any way it can be a viable long term proposition again - or if not, maybe it could just exist for various adhoc competitions in future (say for example during Euro 2012). What a great little sideline that would be for SI to do.
After all, if the game is still there, got to be worth a little consideration.... I'm sure its not as simple as I make it sound, but maybe some mileage there....?
I think what turned me and a lot of other fm'rs off was the monthly subscription fee. Whenever i have to pay a fee, i feel as if i am being forced to play it and if i dont play it for a while i am wasting money. I know a lot of players felt this way and loved the beta but did not want to pay the monthly fee. If maybe SI were to release it as a normla game, with an rrp of the usual £20-30 and they advertised it properly, i am sure they would be able to attract a lot of new customers, as i know loads of people who are looking for a deeper online football experience
then fifa or some of these free online browser based games.
Hell, you only have to look at the popularity of such browser based games to see that there is a big market out there!
Anyway, i dont think FML will come back, but maybe in the future a better and more immersive FM online will emerge!!