Yes you read that right – there’s a Kickstarter for a new football game from Jon Hare with planned releases for PC, Xbox One and PS4 in December 2016. The Sensible Soccer series of the 1990s has a special place in the hearts of a whole generation of gamers and Sociable Soccer is clearly aiming for a growing gap in the market of gamers who just want a fun football game rather than a simulation.
Sociable Soccer may not be the legal successor to Sensible Soccer and Sensible World of Soccer (Codemasters have owned the rights since 1999) but it certainly looks to be the spiritual successor. ‘Fast-paced and instantly playable’ is the mantra with graphics and a brief gameplay video demonstrating that it remains true to its roots, while the ‘sociable’ element of the title refers to the key role multiplayer is due to play.
I did balk a bit at the target amount of £300,000 (just over $450,000) which seems overly optimistic, especially as the modern football game market has become completely dominated by the duopoly of FIFA and PES. However as a Kickstarter project Sociable Soccer can boast two of the most important factors in achieving a large amount of pledges – a loyal fan base and an iconic developer. And it certainly seems to be working early on with over £14,000 ($21,000) raised in the first 12 hours.
I do also have some reservations over the fact that so much of the campaign seems to be reliant on just featuring Jon Hare as much as possible, although admittedly he has assembled a development team with substantial experience on modern games including Max Payne, Alan Wake and the Walking Dead. Another drawback is the lack of real player and club names which could be a problem in attracting the attention of modern gamers. But despite my reservations over the focus on Hare’s legacy (and the slightly low-budget feel of the campaign) I’ve already pledged my support.
Jon Hare’s return to his roots comes shortly after the news that Dino Dini is working on a new instalment of his own classic franchise with Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival for PS4 and Vita. Amiga and PC gamers of the 90s can look forward to a major case of déjà vu as the Sensible Soccer and Kick Off rivalry resumes in late 2016.
Track the progress of the Sociable Soccer Kickstarter in our Campaign Calendar.