eFootball and the (for now) unsuccessful attempt to revolutionize PES and virtual football

eFootball and the (for now) unsuccessful attempt to revolutionize PES and virtual football

Once upon a time there was Winning Eleven, a series capable of continually modernizing itself also thanks to the different publication of the Japanese and European versions. After a dark period there was also the era of PES, of "the pitch is ours", an extremely limited and poor game on the outside, as full of soul once on the pitch.

Now, di all this is no longer there, neither the glorious name, nor the cleverly balanced gameplay. There is only one unfinished beta of eFootball which, for the umpteenth time in a few months, has been postponed to a later date.

Although it was born as an evolving project, designed to enrich and improve over the weeks, despite being born as a product designed to unhinge the conventions of sports video games, thanks to a free-to-play model that would have allowed everyone to access and choose how much and what to spend their savings on, Konami for now has not managed to keep her promises, and she found herself forced to make a sensational change of program, with results still to be discovered.

The 1.0 version of eFootball was postponed in spring, the money already spent by the users refunded, and in the meanwhile, exclusive teams such as Juventus, Roma, Lazio and Atalanta risk finding themselves playing in a minor competition.

Viva la revolución

A smiling Messi has no idea what a mess he's about take place in eFoo tball And yes, the eFootball project, on paper, could have all the credentials to make Electronic Arts and its FIFA tremble. Konami, in fact, had taken a sabbatical (the Japanese team has been working on eFootball for more than two years) to complete the transition of its game from the Fox Engine (proprietary engine, but born to move Metal Gear Solid 5) to Unreal Engine, the most popular and versatile development tool on the planet.

A smart choice for many reasons: it was right not to force time: the change of technology is a laborious process, especially when you have to adapt a tool not created exactly for the purpose. The choice to switch to a non-proprietary graphics engine, however, should have guaranteed a team that is no longer avant-garde to be able to bring the game to different platforms without great difficulty (even on mobile), and implement all those technological innovations that Epic Games would introduce in the future. In short, once the initial obstacle had been overcome, the medium and long-term advantages would have been indisputable.

Once the foundations of PES 2020 had been replicated in Unreal Engine, then we could start building. New teams, modes and, of course, new features. The detachment from the annual serialization would have allowed Konami to improve day by day, without having to wait a year to buy the new edition. Since Fortnite was released, "games as a platform" have been a constant in the video game market, and proposing its model in a sports game would have obviated those criticisms according to which the few innovations introduced from year to year do not justify spending on a new one. chapter.

Does Cristiano Ronaldo change hairstyle? Boom, update and the day after CR7 is identical to the original. Neymar invents a new dribbling? Time to create the animation and you find it in the game. Do they find a way to always score goals online? Here is the fix. Has the development team perfected the physics of the ball? A substantial patch arrives and the feeling of the gameplay improves significantly.

This seemed to be the initial plan.

The release of eFootball

In the official images there was a linesman in the middle of the field ... Given the premises, what could go wrong? We don't know what exactly happened, but the answer seems to be "everything". For some reason Konami decided to come out with an admittedly (and obviously) incomplete version of eFootball the day before FIFA 22 was released. Some marketing expert must have thought that this could be the right move to keep up with EA's game. but, with the game in that state, it served the competition the most classic of empty goal goals.

The players, in fact, found themselves in a slow product, at times unplayable, with very few options and above all optimizations. It is difficult to find opponents online, footballers' limbs bend at unlikely angles and above all they show signs of agony on their faces. And yes, Konami had organized a rather successful network test a few months earlier, both from the point of view of the gameplay and that of the technical infrastructure. Where did that game go?

In this state, the demo released on September 30th was a walking dead. The most unshakable optimists, however, immediately saw the glass as half full: being an evolving project, Konami will fix everything within a couple of patches by enhancing those three-four things that work.

The collaboration with Iniesta and Piqué should have worked wonders Too bad that in this case the PES Team seems to have kept the pace as always, with updates for the squads that take weeks to arrive after the close of the markets, 3-4 patches a year to fix the gameplay and little else.

And therefore, in the most classic chronicle of a death foretold, the postponement of the first patch was reached first, which was to fix the netcode and the biggest game problems, while now comes the announcement that the version 1.0, scheduled for 11 November, will be published directly in the spring of 2022. If the intention is to have it released in the next fiscal year, we are talking about almost a semester.

Licenses and top players

Ettorito is one of the most successful pro players in Italy The problems of eFootball risk having repercussions even on those who had invested in the Konami game. Just to stay in Italy, this decision weighs heavily on the image of those teams like Juventus, Atalanta, Rome, Lazio and Naples, who have decided to abandon FIFA in favor of the former PES. This postponement means not only that their logo will not be present in any quality game during the Christmas period (with consequent damage to the image), but only in a highly deficient and still incomplete product, without official competitions and people who play it seriously in competitive field.

Not just the teams: let's think of the Italian Federation which had set up a national eFootball team or the Serie B which has all the export competitions on the Konami game. or aspiring ones who have chosen eFootball as a title to compete on. Like Ettorito, several times world champion and current Juventus player: what will he do in these months? What will he train on?

It can't rain forever

Neymar in an unlikely T-shirt Over the years, the PES Team has proven to be able to recover. Maybe he will do it again this time, despite the own goal. Except that the more the years pass, the more the PES brand weakens and becomes more and more a niche product, appreciated by the old nostalgic players. Let alone, moreover, if that name is also abandoned.

Given the revolutionary nature of the economic model, however, nothing is precluded. If a good game comes out in the spring, there should be nothing to stop players from embracing the project and spreading the word. After all, we have seen several stories of redemption in the world of video games in recent years. Could this be yet another rebirth? We hope so, after all the market and fans need a strong and credible competitor for FIFA, but whether eFootball will be able to do so is all down to Konami.

Have you noticed any mistakes?

Powered by Blogger.