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Sports Interactive Announces Eastside Hockey Manager

by Rainier on July 25, 2002 @ 6:59 p.m. PDT

Sports Interactive, developer of the phenomenally successful Championship Manager series, has announced its first title based outside the world of football.
Set inside the frenetic world of ice, sticks and pucks, Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition puts players in charge of any one of hundreds of hockey teams throughout the world. It will offer a detailed game world in which gamers draft, trade and manage players throughout various hockey leagues and trophies.

Millions of people around the world follow both national and international ice hockey leagues. The vast amount of detailed rules combined with the legions of hardcore fans make the sport an ideal candidate for a management game. It is currently regarded as one of the ‘Big Four’ sports in the US and Canada, and is the second most popular sport in Europe. Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition will replicate the fast-moving and exciting world of the sport like never before.

The original Eastside Hockey Manager began life as a popular shareware game, released in 2000. Like the original Championship Manager released 10 years ago, a small team passionate about the subject matter developed the sport’s most comprehensive management simulation to date. Headed up by Risto ‘Riz’ Remes and based in Helsinki, Finland, the team received critical acclaim for the software.
Publications throughout the team’s native territory raved about the game, heralding it as a comprehensive addition to the sports management genre.

The shareware version of Eastside Hockey was spotted by Sports Interactive’s Head of Development, Marc Vaughan, who immediately recognised the hallmarks of a kindred development soul. The two teams soon began talking about ways they could work together – using Sports Interactive’s unrivalled technology as the backbone for an even more comprehensive version. Earlier this year, Riz moved across to England to join Sports Interactive as a full-time employee and development began on the Franchise Edition in earnest.

Miles Jacobson, said: “Hockey is a huge sport – rivalling football in many countries – so whilst the subject matter may raise a few eyebrows in the UK games industry, there is a massive potential audience out there which has remained largely ignored. This is the start of a new franchise for Sports Interactive. We will be working with the sport as closely as we currently do with football and will be announcing some partners soon. It’s a huge title for us.”

Riz added: “This is like a dream come true for me. When I decided to start work on the original Eastside Hockey Manager, I never thought I’d one day be working with the Sports Interactive team. They were the inspiration for our game; it’s amazing to think we’re now colleagues. We’ve been working closely with the key programmers from the CM titles and their expertise has really inspired us.”

Marc Vaughan concludes: “For such a small team, the boys did a fantastic job with the original Eastside Hockey Manager – and our goal is to help them take their vision as far as possible. The Eastside Hockey project was a triumph of programming and research on a similar scale to the original Championship Manager game, which is why we were so keen to get involved. By using our expertise within the genre and Riz’s unrivalled passion for the sport of Ice Hockey, we’re confident Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition will quickly generate the same dedicated following as Championship Manager.”

Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition is being developed by Sports Interactive for release during 2003.

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