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Is The FM2021 Graphics Engine Improved This Year?

Is The FM2021 Graphics Engine Improved This Year

What many Football Manager players want to know honestly is if the graphics engine got improved with the latest edition. Here's our review on the FM2021 graphics engine so far.


With the Football Manager 2021 now out, virtual managers around the world are dusting down their ankle-length coats one more time. However, before you go ahead and get stuck into a 10-season epic in FM2021, we want to help you work out if the new game is for you or not.

Related: Football Manager 2021: Worth the upgrade with winter?

One of the most common questions, when a new edition of FM hits the market, is to do with graphics. While fans are happy with the lower quality of graphics in FM compared to flagship titles like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, there are limits. With the FM match engine not really improving in a standout way for a few years now, some are concerned that, again, the move from 2020 to 2021 will bring minimal visual changes. 

3D Match engine gameplay FM2021

And if we are totally honest with you, so far that does seem to be the case. Open up FM2020 and compare an in-game shot to a 2021 shot, and you would be hard-pressed to see any massive differences. Things like improved crowds and atmosphere at games, as well as more varied and unique stadia, are still to arrive. So, too, are seemingly simple things like long hair and shorter hair. Despite the in-game editor including a ‘Hair Length’ option for each player, there is no majorly visible difference between hair lengths.

Related: Football Manager 2021 Gameplay and Match Footage

However, there are some small but important changes in the way that matches run. For example, this year has arguably the most diverse range of animations we have seen. Players no look as wooden when moving with the ball, shooting, or passing. A cross-field pass no longer carries a similar animation to a five-yard possession keeper.



It is, therefore, another year of steady evolution as opposed to digital revolution.

Why are the graphics in FM2021 not a bigger leap forward?


There are several reasons, some which are specific to 2020 and others which are more general to the series. One major impact this year has obviously come from the global pandemic. COVID-19 has made it hard for many games to make transformative changes without some questionable practices being put in place. This is why the latest release of Pro Evolution Soccer – eFootball PES 2021 – is more of a season update as opposed to a major change.

Related: Impact of COVID-19 on Football Manager 2021

However, FM2021 manages to add just enough small changes this year to help make it look different enough to feel like an upgrade. At the same time, game developers Sports Interactive are often loathe to go too intense with graphical updates. Many people who play FM do so on lower-end machines; not everyone who plays Football Manager will have a ‘gaming PC’ or similar.

As such, the aim is to try and make small changes so that previous players do not feel alienated when a new edition rises. While eventually, the current graphical engine will reach a stage where it is too outdated to be acceptable, we are not quite at that stage yet.

So, don’t expect FM2021 to be making use of next-gen graphics; this is more of the same, with some added polish and charm for good effect.

If you still haven't jumped aboard to FM2021 from 20 we have a great deal of up to 40% off if you buy FM21 now.

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FM BLOG: Is The FM2021 Graphics Engine Improved This Year?
Is The FM2021 Graphics Engine Improved This Year?
Here's our review on the FM2021 graphics engine so far. Find out more about Football Manger 2021 3d match engine.
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