Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Franchise Hockey Manager 5’

Review Fix chats with Richard Grisham, Chief Marketing Officer for “Franchise Hockey Manager 5,” who details the development process and what makes this year’s version a special one.

About the Game:

Franchise Hockey Manager 5 includes:

  • An official NHL ® license, ensuring complete authenticity as you pursue the Stanley Cup ® ! 
  • New, deep tactics that allow unprecedented control over how your entire team performs, down to each line and individual player
  • An all-new user interface designed to make it easier and faster to do exactly what you want to do
  • New team chemistry dynamics that allow you to mix and match players and maximize performance
  • New player and staff personalities that influence how your team performs over the long-term
  • New online leagues, allowing you to compete against friends from around the world
  • Up-to-date 2018-19 season rosters for each NHL ® club
  • Dozens of global leagues, competitions, and tournaments 

And much more! Franchise Hockey Manager 5 is the only sports strategy game licensed by the NHL®, including the real clubs, awards, and trophies associated with the greatest hockey league in the world. FHM 5 allows you to build your hockey franchise into a perennial Stanley Cup winner YOUR way, in the current 2018-19 season or back through the entire history of the sport – all the way back to the very beginning! Different eras demand different tactics, and it’s up to you to put together the best club possible for every era.

Review Fix: What was this development cycle like?

Richard Grisham: Development officially began back in late winter, but a lot of the ideas go back much farther than that.  Since we’re five versions in now, we’ve got a bit of a stockpile of ideas and plans, and some of the things that made it into FHM5 have been waiting on the shelf for a while for us to have the time and ability to implement them.  That’ll likely continue going forward, there are things that we came up with this year that could be done, but we just didn’t have time to add.   The rest of the process is pretty standardized at this point – very basic stuff starts to happen as we get the final updates to the previous version finished around the time of the NHL trading deadline, then we move into the planning stages for the bigger things and coding for the simpler ones that we already know we want to do.  That goes on all spring, first internal builds in the summer, beta testing and getting NHL approvals in late summer/fall, game out right around the start of the NHL regular season.

Review Fix: What makes this year’s version special?

Grisham: Multiplayer is probably the biggest addition this year.  It’s been requested for a long time, and we hope it’ll help start building up the community around the game a little more as people can play with their friends.  We’ve also rebuilt the tactical system in the game, and that seems to be pretty well-received so far.

Review Fix: What are your favorite improvements?

Grisham: The new random debut option in historical mode is a lot of fun; it allows you to mix up the starting dates for every player in NHL history, so you may get modern guys playing in the 1950’s or guys who played in the 1920’s suiting up for modern teams.  No two games are exactly the same.  

Review Fix: How do you want this year’s version to be remembered?

Grisham: Hopefully as the version of FHM that started a lot of long-running multiplayer leagues.  I know of leagues that started with old-school DOS text games in the 90’s that are still running 20+ years later, so it’d be great to see FHM with that kind of long-term participation a decade or two from now.

Review Fix: With a lack of hockey experiences on the Nintendo Switch, is there any chance this could find its way there at some point?

Grisham: Not likely.  Console development would mean a big resource commitment from us, and probably require some significant changes to the architecture of the games.  If we ever went in that direction, Out of the Park Baseball would probably be the first game you’d see from us, but we have no plans at all in that area right now.

Review Fix: What’s next?

Grisham: We’re looking forward to seeing what happens with the Perfect Team addition to Out of the Park Baseball, where the regular OOTP mechanics meet a collectible card game.  I’ve been playing in their playtest a bit, and once they’ve got it all polished and ready to go, it doesn’t look like it’d be that much of a leap to add it to FHM as well.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 8103 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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