The Fame Game

The Fame Game
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

January 19th 2012 at 10:00AM

Develop asks the Lords of Football developer if Gianluca Vialli's involvement is more than a celebrity endorsement

When Geniaware began work on Lords of Football, it never hoped to mimic the likes of FIFA or Football Manager.

In fact, since conception, it was supposed to offer a very different football experience. Positioned on the crossroads where god games, traditional sports titles and virtual pets intersect, Lords of Football charges players with overseeing a team of players and filling their lives day and night.

It is, says developer Geniaware, a lifestyle simulator, and it’s being made in conjunction with a giant of the sometimes-bewildering world of top flight football.

Manager, pundit and former Italy superstar player Gianluca Vialli has been involved in Lords of Football as an advisor and case study to inform the team.

Celebrity consulting is nothing new, of course, and it’s easy to imagine that the ‘involvement’ of a famed personality is cursory at best.

Surely, after all, it is just celebrity endorsement under another name, with little effort on behalf of the talent?

INVESTING IN FAME

In fact, in Vialli’s case, he was assigned to Geniaware’s project by FishEagle, the investors behind Lords of Football.

“FishEagle appointed Gianluca as consultant to ensure accuracy in simulating football was as high as possible,” explains Geniaware general manager Claudio Giacopazzi.

“He’s a great choice considering his incredibly successful career.”

Geniaware insists that Vialli has provided a wealth of expertise on the football world, from insights into training to a sense a footballer’s difficult journey through the glare of the media and the competitive ranks of the sport.

“Gianluca strongly believes that in order to bring the best out of your players and to build a successful team the manager has to be able to prepare the athletes whilest being mindful that they’re human beings,” says technical director Riccardo Capra.

“This is why he has fallen in love with the Lords of Football gameplay and has worked enthusiastically and closely with the whole development team, getting involved in the decision making process for matters like branding and in-game training routines."

Vialli has apparently pushed Geniaware to develop something that alone they may have not managed. But do the problems inherent to working with outsider celebrities outweigh the benefits?

STAR STRUCK

“They’re super busy most of the time,” admits Geniaware marketing director Sabrina Gasson.

“Arranging our Golden Scarf campaign with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and pinning him down to receive his award before his big FA Cup Final in May of this year was a challenge.”

And yet Geniaware see working with talent as worth the frustration. Big names not only bring awareness to the studio – which is currently recruiting in substantial numbers – they can also provide invaluable information that can grant a game the authenticity that can make or break its sales.

And, apparently, Vialli’s presence has made the studio so optimistic despite the tough Italian economy, that plans for further titles are already in the pipeline.

Supported as it is by some of the biggest names in football, it might just be that Geniaware really could exceed expectation.

www.geniaware.com

CATCHING STARS

When Geniaware signed football legend Gianluca Vialli as a consultant, the team were granted an arsenal of knowledge and experience that has greatly informed their latest development project.

But what have they learned of the process of getting the most from talent? First and foremost, to give the star in question room; space to relax, be themselves and input ideas without fear of being rebuffed.

“Allowing our prestigious contributors to talk about their football lifestyle is of utmost importance as we’re using this experience to build the bulk of our game design,” explains Geniaware marketing director Sabrina Gasson.

“Also, it’s about just letting them be themselves really. Watching their lives and analysing their behaviour is just as useful for reference inside the game.”