When it launches on November 10, Football Manager 2018 will become the first game of its kind to see in-game players come out as gay. Developer Sports Interactive did not announce the news as such, but with the beta currently out in the wild, fans have discovered messages similar to the one below informing them of players coming out.

The move is of particular note since there are currently no openly gay professional footballers in any of the world’s major leagues, and homophobia remains an issue in the sport around the globe. In 2014, German international Thomas Hitzlsperger became the first player to have played in the Premier League to come out, while United States midfielder Robbie Rogers announced he was gay a year earlier. Both men only felt they could come out after they had retired, though Rogers later returned to soccer with LA Galaxy.

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Images via BBC Sport

“Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers,” game director Miles Jacobson told BBC Sport. “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.”

You won’t see real-world players coming out in Football Manager 2018. Instead, it’s only the computer-generated players, or “newgens,” that populate youth teams who can come out. Jacobson said the developer was “able to do things with these players that we can’t with real players, because they can’t sue us.”

In terms of what actually happens in-game, the effects are minimal. You’ll receive a message informing you that one of your players has decided to come out, followed by a small boost in revenue intended to simulate increased interest from the LGBT community.

“It will be: ‘Right, okay, let’s move on.’ Everything will carry on perfectly normally, because that’s what we’ve have seen happen [in other sports],” Jacobson said. “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.”

He continued: “Being gay is just a totally normal thing in life, and it’s the right thing to put it in the game because it’s something that we’re going to be seeing in the future.” He did, however, say that players will not come out in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

Finally, Jacobson stated the feature was about “normalising the issue.” He said: “We are not going to be able to change the mind of someone who is homophobic, we don’t have that power, and if someone has that issue and decides not to buy the game for that reason then to be honest I feel really sorry for them.”

“Hopefully, it will make some people look up and think, ‘This is ridiculous.’”