Way back in 1992, a gaming phenomenon was born. The worlds greatest football game landed in the hands of gamers worldwide, delivering countless hours of simplistic yet addictive gameplay. It was Sensible Soccer, and Sensible Software had a huge hit on their hands. Not to ignore their other releases, Cannon Fodder, Mega Lo Mania and Sensible Golf. But what would come to be known as Sensible World of Soccer, or to use the popular acronym SWOS for short, would undoubtedly turn into one of the most loved football games over the last 25 years. Now the game is being developed by Tower Studio, with Jon Hare being the only original member left to work away tirelessly on the spiritual successor to what is in my humble opinion, the best football title ever.
What could be reservations, not only on my behalf, but other gamers anxious to find out more, and more importantly get their hands on it. Will Sociable Soccer live up the the hype and will it recapture that magic that was infused in SWOS all those years ago? Sometimes we look through rose tinted glasses and reminisce about games and other media only to find that it didn't age well, or that rebooting a series just didn't work out. However, Sociable Soccer is on course to avoid these common pitfalls, and bring that magic back to football games. Showing that you don't need your FIFA's or your PES games with their incredible likenesses of popular players, and complex controls. Instead, all you need is a fast and addictive gameplay mechanic whereby you can just load up and play the game. Just how you used too and just how it should be.
I invested an an unbelievable amount of hours into the iconic Sensible Soccer, buying the very first release, and then upgrading to SWOS 1996/7 season which would be the last ever update I would have for my Amiga 1200. It was also the only game I ever played for longer than an hour until I eventually switched over to PlayStation. I may not have gone back to play it over the years, but that doesn't mean I would forget just how much fun I had with it.
Sociable Soccer is boasting over 1000 teams at both club and international level, with a database of over 25,000 players. Although it's roughly half of what its predecessor offered, there's no doubt that the amount of content will keep you busy for quite some time. I personally hope that with frequent updates we will be released, giving us more leagues and teams, but even if the answer is no, that's still a lot of teams to play as. Although I would prefer some non league clubs added, as I've always fancied to start at the very bottom and work my way up through the ranks and take a small club to Champions League glory.
With the impending release for Steam almost upon us, console owners will have to patiently await an early 2018 release date. No confirmed news as of writing about a specific date, but once it has an official date pencilled in, you can be sure of one thing. We will be writing it down on our calenders in unison, and counting down the days with glee.
One addition that will no doubt get us get us all excited, is the inclusion of online multiplayer. Something that wasn't available back in the day off the originals release. This would benefit many who don't have friends living nearby, like myself. Instead, allowing us to rely upon people of the internet to help them get their fix. Online tournaments are going to be included, where you can build your team from a deck which sounds similar to how FUT works in FIFA, a World mode, with 67 trophies up for grabs and upgrades for your manager and a total of 4 game modes. It's certainly shaping up to be a game full to the brim with content and gameplay options for the enthusiast football fan. Will younger fans be tempted to put their FIFA and PES aside for some fast paced arcade action? I certainly hope so, but time will tell. With the increasingly popular eSports tournaments taking place with a selection of other popular titles, can Sociable Soccer squeeze its way into the hearts of millions? We shall soon find out, as it hits Steam Early Access on 12th October, with Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases yet to come. Oh, not forgetting about VR either.
Will you be buying day one? Are you as excited as I am for what looks to be one of the most anticipated releases that's not FIFA or PES? If that's a yes, then get your scarves ready, put your favourite teams replica shirt on, and place yourself in your armchair and get ready for Sociable Soccer. Will you the next goal scoring superstar hero?
Platforms: Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and handheld devices including VR.
SWOSIRELAND YouTube video of 20 best strikers in SWOS 1996/7