Gaming legend Kevin Toms talks bringing back Football Manager for mobile | Pocket

If you’re a veteran game aficionado, the name Kevin Toms is probably already familiar to you.

If you’re a dedicated gamer, chances are you’ve heard of Kevin Toms. Toms has greatly influenced the gaming industry with his original Football Manager game, which was released on various home computer formats in 1982. Since then, the franchise has gained millions of players and achieved great success across mobile, PC, and console platforms.

Toms Returns to Game Development

After taking a break from game development, Toms has returned with a new project, Kevin Toms Football * Manager, available on Android and iOS. But he’s not stopping there. Toms has bigger plans for his iconic game with Kevin Toms Football Game.

Interview with Kevin Toms

We had the opportunity to chat with Toms at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2023 to learn more about his new games and why mobile gaming has such appeal. You need very little introduction we think…

Kevin Toms: Well, I’m well-known for writing the original Football Manager game many years ago on the likes of the Sinclair ZX81, the Spectrum and things like that. It was the first football management game created, so it’s the founder of the genre.

And you’ve recently brought it to mobile in a remake as Kevin Toms Football * Manager?

Kevin Toms: Yeah, people online had been very enthusiastic about me creating a mobile version of my original game. So I set about writing that, I was already a mobile developer so I just put two and two together and it came out really well. People like it a lot and some have played hundreds of seasons on the game already.

What makes mobile such an appealing platform for this?

Kevin Toms: That’s pretty easy to answer – it’s very similar to the way I started. You can publish yourself and you’ve got complete creative control. It’s very much like when I first wrote Football Manager. I was an independent developer just working out myself how to do things, and this was doing the same thing again, writing it all myself.

And you’ve also brought a full-fledged follow-up in the form of Kevin Toms Football Game to mobile as well, what’s the rationale behind that?

Kevin Toms: Well, I want to be free to continue evolving the game over time. Unlike Football * Manager, which was a rewrite of a retro game, Kevin Toms Football Game is set to evolve over time but it’s a very casual game – casual with long-term depth but without masses of statistics. So it combines easy play with subtlety that allows you to see your team, and the history of your team, building both over time. I want to develop that sense of fun and the urge for players to think ‘I’ll just play one more match’.

Do you have anything else planned in the future for mobile?

Kevin Toms: Actually, I get asked often to rewrite Software Star which is another game I designed, which was a business game about running a software company – obviously I can still draw on experience for that. People seem to like that a lot but I plan to finish what I’m working on first. Having set Kevin Toms Football Game up to be ongoing and continuously improving, I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to do that. But that’s a potential thing to do in the future for mobile.

And lastly, how has PGC Helsinki been for you this year?

Kevin Toms: It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve really enjoyed it, learnt quite a lot of things, and met lots of new people as well. It’s been worth coming, and I’m very happy to be here.