Konami is making a free game by completely renewing the series, which was known by the old players as Winning Eleven, which was later changed to Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). Renaming the game to eFootball, it becomes an all-digital, free-to-play game, and is coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC this fall. iOS and Android versions will follow shortly after its release. (Konami left the question of a possible Nintendo Switch release unanswered). By winter, eFootball is expected to support cross-play across all platforms. Of course, those who play the game on mobile will need to get a controller to play against console and PC players.
This is a big move for the PES series, now known as eFootball (the series is still called Winning Eleven in Japan, by the way). This replacement comes with a modified Unreal 4 engine from Konami’s FOX engine. A very critical point is this; All versions of the game will come with the same functions on all platforms (unlike games like Fortnite and PUBG). For this reason, it is possible that PES Mobile, which has achieved great success, will be gradually withdrawn from the scene or radically changed in this process.
The producer of the series spoke to MRT
Speaking to MRT, series producer Seitaro Kimura states that eFootball aims to move away from the “platform” approach with regular updates. The producer explained that eFootball will no longer have paid annual renewals, but instead will receive regular updates and a free per-season update that refreshes teams and players at the start of each season.
Local matches featuring FC Barcelona, Juventus, FC Bayern, Manchester United and others will be available for free at launch. It is stated that in the future certain game modes will be sold as optional DLC, giving players the freedom to create an experience that follows their own interests.
There’s no word yet on FIFA Ultimate Team’s PES counterpart, MyClub, or on the career mode Master League, but it looks like MyClub will appear at launch as an unnamed “Team Building Mode”.
Battle pass-like system
It is not yet clear how new teams will be added to the game or how eFootball’s mods and monetization system will work. However, even though the game has moved to a free-to-play model and has a Battle Pass-like Match Pass lock system, Konami says the game will be balanced for all players.
While much of the approach to eFootball points to a shift in the PES franchise, MRT has been able to confirm two issues that will be ported from PES to the game: Peter Drury and Jim Beglin will continue as English commentators, and the widely loved Option Files (a large part of the game’s game). It is stated that there will be an option (files that allow it to change and edit the section, add unlicensed teams). However, support in this regard will be given after the game’s release. We also do not know how it will be integrated and whether this feature will meet Xbox players.
eFootball will launch with a limited experience, but new items will be added to the game as time goes on, making the game much more comprehensive. Konami’s roadmap is as follows:
- Brand new gameplay powered by Unreal® Engine
- Gameplay support between different generation game consoles (eg PlayStation®5 vs. PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S vs. Xbox One)
- Local Matches including FC Barcelona, Juventus, FC Bayern, Manchester United and many more
- Cross-platform support between game consoles and desktop computers (eg PlayStation®5 vs. Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®5 vs. PC Steam®, etc.)
- Team Building Mode (official name not yet known) – a mode based on recruiting players and building your own team
- Online Leagues (no official name yet) – an opportunity to take your team and play in a global, competitive league
- Match Pass system – Earn various items and players by playing eFootball™
- Controller support for mobile devices
- Support for all available cross-platform pairing, including mobile devices using compatible controllers
- Start of professional and amateur esports tournaments
Messi and Neymar are the new faces of the game
Switching to the new engine in the game enabled the new motion matching animation system to be included in the game. This means four times more animations than before. While this doesn’t look like FIFA’s newly announced HyperMotion animation system, Konami says this system will come to all platforms; This includes mobile.
Pique and Iniesta were also involved in the development process
KONAMI also announced that two of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr., will be the global brand faces of eFootball™. In addition, Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué were closely involved in the development process as official consultants for the offensive and defensive mechanics in the game, respectively.
Konami is aiming to make a more comprehensive statement about the game (and mods) by the end of August.
Joe Skrebels is the editor-in-chief at MRT.