eFootball: Konami's football between novelty and PES legacy

eFootball: Konami's football between novelty and PES legacy


The announcement of the abandonment of the historic PES brand in favor of eFootball has left all of us blown away. The classic formula with which we would have expected to see the new chapter arrive in real and virtual stores has, in fact, been replaced by a free-to-play model, long invoked by a good part of football simulation fans. A change of course that coincides with the arrival of the football of the Japanese software house also on the new generation, for the occasion carried out thanks to the Unreal Engine, which has retired the old Fox Engine.

With many novelties on the plate, in such a situation it would be justified to expect substantial news also in terms of gameplay. For this reason, someone has turned their noses a bit after watching the latest eFootball trailer. Indeed, more than one connection with the past has emerged from this.

Today we want to reflect precisely on this point, to try to understand the reasons for a choice that for now is conservative. Trying, therefore, to understand how this new eFootball will move between novelty and legacy of PES.

Elements of continuity

eFootball: gameplay scene We were saying: new name, new graphic engine, new generation. But above all, a new economic model. In eFootball the news will certainly not be lacking and it is precisely for this reason that Konami needs something that hang back on the past. From this point of view, at least for what we could see in the Gamescom 2021 trailer, the gameplay will take care of the glue between the old PES and the new eFootball. A choice in some ways obliged to make sure that, with all these innovations, the new game is not completely destabilizing for the loyal fan base of PES. In fact, showing a product that is too different from the previous one would undoubtedly have displaced the players who in the last couple of years have had the opportunity to appreciate PES 2020 and the Season Update of a year ago.

Also because from the point of view of gameplay the series had made giant steps in the last editions that with the generational leap it would have been a shame to risk losing. Speaking of generational leaps, let's not forget that the last two were not painless for the PES series. We can therefore understand if there is a certain caution on Konami's part.

Then there is the front of electronic sports: the new eFootball, like the old PES, we imagine will want to play a leading role in the world of export Also from this point of view, revolutionizing the gameplay could have had more negative than positive implications, since it would have put the many pro-players already active in the competitive circuit in difficulty.

Finally, let's not forget that it is still too early to express judgments on the dynamics of eFootball. The old PES series has a long tradition of demos that turned out to be different from the final product and this could obviously be repeated with the new game as well. We have already seen some news, especially in terms of new animations and focus on duels with the addition of a new camera, as well as what should be an update on game tactics. But the heart of the experience seems to be the known one. On balance, however, what we have seen so far is therefore only represented by a trailer and the famous beta: from here to the actual release, the published game could be very different.

Assuming that we can speak of a "final version".

An open construction site

The word quoted at the end of the previous paragraph is not accidental and obviously refers to nature open of eFootball, with which Konami hopes to give a push to the current economic model of football games and sports in general. We remind you, in fact, that eFootball abandons the annual serialization and will be updated seamlessly over time. One thing that will allow developers to add elements without having to wait for the classic annual release to make radical changes. It will therefore be possible to see parts of gameplay able to substantially modify the eFootball known up to that moment. It could also happen in a period like spring which, in the classic model, was usually a transition between the old game and the new one.

In such a situation, already in the first months of 2022 eFootball could therefore be clearly different from his debut, and it certainly makes sense. By giving fans a way to start from a familiar product, Konami can ensure a solid starting point, linked to the irrefutable quality of the gameplay that has represented one of the strengths of the latest PES as already mentioned above. From this base it will then presumably be the players themselves to provide feedback to the developers to improve the game. We already know for example that some elements such as precision shooting and greater control in dribbling will come with future updates, but from Konami it will be necessary to do something more.

eFootball as a project

eFootball: tactics menu screen With what has been said so far we don't want to hide behind a finger. It is clear that at least in this initial phase the choice to put a product on track with some features announced for the coming months is a convenient choice, dictated by the need to take additional time on the part of the developers, despite coming from a sabbatical during which has arrived only the Season Update. It is equally clear that, if Konami really wants to have a chance to undermine the current overwhelming power of FIFA, the free-to-play model alone will not be enough. It will in fact be necessary to have a project vision intended to exploit the open nature of eFootball, through constant support to one's own football simulation and dialogue with fans. Roadmaps, feedback exchanges and other elements of communication will play a key role from this point of view, to keep the community's interest in eFootball alive.

Given the less encouraging past experiences with the updates of the series PES does not hide that we have a bit of fear while we write these lines, but the hope is that from this point of view the Japanese company has learned from the mistakes made previously, and that with eFootball it can therefore keep a product alive over time by exploiting its characteristic open. For now, we just have to continue our wait to find out more.

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