A Quick Chat With Lothar Matthäus
While checking out the move from Toplitz to bring Football, Tactics & Glory to new systems, I was also able to talk to Lothar Matthäus. For those not in the know, he is one of the best midfielders of all time, being the only German player to be named the FIFA World Player of the Year. In the realms of video games, he has long-appeared in FIFA as a legend in FIFA Ultimate Team.
Still, here with the game, I believe it marks the first time of any real involvement with a game. At Gamescom, I was given a little bit of time to chat to him and here's what we talked about.
Chris Wray: So how did you get involved working on the game Football, Tactics & Glory with Toplitz?
Lothar Matthäus: So, we were in contact with somebody and they showed me the game and I liked it. They asked me if it's possible to get involved so I said "why not", this is something I like very much. It was my sport and it's still my sport. Football is all about tactics. When I was a player, I was thinking like a coach. Tactics are very important and who doesn't like glory? For these reasons, I've found myself in the game.
CW: Okay, so primarily because it works around what you were particularly strong with and interested in?
LM: Exactly, yes. For 40 years in professional football. 21 years as a player, then a coach. Now I work around football as an ambassador or an expert, like on TV. I love the sport and I think this game can be very interesting. You have to build and improve your players, the quality of each player to get better results and of course get the glory.
CW: That's certainly a major aim when it comes to football.
LM: I think this is a motivation for those who like gaming in this way.
CW: That's certainly a major push. I mean, I'm a massive football fan, even having watched you play while at Bayern Munich. I understand - it's like you're saying - a game like this is all based on the tactics. So, with your experience, have you had any input, have you helped with any of the tactics within the game?
LM: I can't really help them. You have your tactics and nobody can really say "my tactic is the best way". In five years of building the game and they have been improving it year by year. Like in a football now, it's much faster than 20 years ago - without speed, you cannot be on the pitch today - you don't feel you're in this game when you don't have the speed. Speed is everything. Speed and tactics, smart tactics. This is important. You can't give each team the same tactics. You build the team like a manager, then you have to choose the best tactics for your team because each team has different kinds of players. So within the game, you have different systems letting you implement different tactics, which sometime depends on the players you have in your club. If I don't have speedy players, I can't play speedy football. I have to play physically strong, focus the defence and find another way to deal with speedy players to get the result.
CW: So, have you played the game much yourself? How are you at it?
LM: I'm not a good gamer. Sure, I've been playing it but I am not a specialist. I was much better when I was playing football on the pitch than on the computer. I suppose I don't have the time because when you like to be good, you have to play every day, practice, practice, practice. You see this in e-sports at the moment.
CW: Oh, certainly, massive!
LM: They are working and training from the morning till evening. Not only on the computer but they are also going to the gym, they are running and pushing for a great physical condition. They need it because if you want glory in e-sports, you have to work a lot. Much like how I was working when I was a football player. So to get glory in this game, you need a lot of time because everybody is working every day to be better and better.
CW: I understand. It's like when playing games like this, you have to keep playing, slowly improving.
LM: I know my mentality. It's like a player. When I start to play and get this virus I will not stop [laughs] but sometimes I like to sleep at night.
CW: I suppose you have to sleep sometimes [laughs]
LM: I see it in my oldest children. Five years ago, ten years ago, they were gaming until 4, 5, 6 o'clock in the morning. It's what makes this so interesting for many people. They like to find the newest, fastest, the best games. What’s new on the market? Like in football now, the scouting now is completely different from 20 years ago. You have to find the best, youngest player, get him in your club and make him better and better like in this game to maybe get the glory of the premier league title.
CW: Certainly. You can look at it, how clubs find people. Barcelona got Lionel Messi when he was around 14.
LM: Yeah, 14. That was only Messi. Now you start scouting at the age of 12. I think it's early, but it's a business, a big business. They pay a lot of money to kids who are close to thirteen years old, they make the contract to the parents to have the best kids in their club. They don't then have to buy them for a lot of money later. This is something in the game too. You have to make your players better and better, letting you push and get close after maybe 2, 3 or 4 seasons.
CW: So the game has full scouting, training and development within the game?
LM: Yeah, training and letting you boost the level of the players.
CW: Okay, excellent. Thank you very much for your time.