This year’s edition of Football Manager, one of the biggest sports game series on the planet, is going to allow its virtual players to come out.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it’s a management/spreadsheet game that puts the player in control of a football club, letting them run everything from game tactics to merchandise sales.
In FM2018, fictional players that the game generates itself—in order to replace actual players when they retire—are able to come out as a news event within the game, the BBC reports.
A number of professional footballers in Europe have come out as gay in recent years, like Germany’s Thomas Hitzlsperger, but most have done so only after they had retired from the game.
“Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers,” game director Miles Jacobson told the BBC. “We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don’t want to come out.”
“I find it weird that it’s still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing. I just think it’s crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can’t be themselves.”
While it’s a great idea, it’s one that not everyone will see.
“It’s not a message that everyone is going to see in their game. It is quite rare, but we want it to be seen as a positive thing”, Jacobson says. “We also had to take some legal advice, because in some countries that are less forward-thinking than the UK, it is still illegal to be gay. In those cases we have simply respected their laws, so if a player is based in one of those countries, the player won’t come out.”
FM2018 is out on PC on November 10.