eFootball – nice idea, shame about the name? (pic: Konami)
A reader casts a critical eye over this week’s eFootball announcements and despite criticising Konami is hopeful the game will turn out to be a hit.
This week Konami announced its future plans for the eFootball series, previously know as PES. Although it is hard to say what those plans are exactly as the reveal was, to be kind, a mess.
They revealed the name had been changed and the Pro Evolution Soccer title was being dropped. The roadmap they unveiled, which vaguely covers three periods – early autumn, autumn, and winter – possibly suggests that there will only be nine teams to play with and only 1v1 games at launch for the now free to play game.
The roadmap’s plan is that online leagues and ‘Team Building Mode (Name TBC)’ will open soon afterwards. This will presumably be the latest version of MyClub, PES’s take on FIFA’s Ultimate Team cash cow. Also, at this stage cross-platform matches will be possible. It says console and PC and the image below says PS v Steam v Xbox, the wording and placement of Steam between PS and Xbox could hint at PlayStation vs. Xbox games not being possible.
There will also be a battle pass type match pass launched at this time, although what exactly that is remains unclear. Finally, in winter they will add controller support for mobile, the mobile game will be added to cross-platform play, and an esports tournament will begin.
Online fans have been vocal, voicing their displeasure at everything from the change of name, the (unconfirmed) parity between next gen versions, and mobile versions of the game; the lack of teams and seemingly the biggest concern of all is the lack of offline modes mentioned in the reveal.
How many of these concerns are legitimate is difficult to say at the moment, the reveal video spent more time showing interviews with Messi, Ineista, and Pique than discussing the game or showing gameplay but it’s probably not as bad as it seems.
Firstly, for a few years now Konami has released PES LITE, a free-to-play striped down copy of the game focusing mainly on MyClub. Previously I always viewed this as a strategy to increase midseason interest in the game. Now the plan seems to be to use a similar version as a trojan horse to get the game into people’s homes. Since the initial announcement Konami have clarified that Master League will be available to buy as DLC, which would suggest other offline modes will be similar.
Secondly, On the roadmap it shows only nine teams for launch. It is highly unlikely the game will only launch with so few teams, I believe Konami chose instead to focus on the teams that are exclusive to the eFootball game. It doesn’t have the rights to the Premier League so if it used league crests it would be reminding people of what it doesn’t have, and no one wants to see the famous PES Liverpool Red or London Blue crest in the games marketing.
MyClub, under some name, will be a main focus of the game as it’s where the money will be made, likewise the match pass, but surely most would agree that if the match pass keeps microtransactions out of the game that’s a good thing.
The name change is a shame to see, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the PES title come back in some form but let’s be honest, the name has changed before, evolving from Goal Storm and ISS Pro on the PlayStation 1. Does Pro Evolution Soccer make much more sense than eFootball as a title?
In terms of mobile sharing the same game with console and PC, we have already seen free-to-play games, namely Fortnite, successfully do this. Plus, there could possibly be an option to turn off cross-play.
However, Konami could have saved themselves a lot of hassle if they had approached the reveal in a more open way.
Not the most detailed roadmap ever (pic: Konami)
If they had said you can now pick and choose which game modes you want to buy, to tailor the game to how you play instead of completely ignoring the offline modes, it would have eased fans fears straight away. How many Call Of Duty fans would love the option to buy the multiplayer version of the game only? Or, for fans of single-player games, how many would prefer a discounted version of a game that offered no multiplayer?
Potentially, what Konami are doing goes further, mixing the ability to buy individual game modes and the current Fortnite/Warzone business model of free-to-play/battle passes.
If they said ‘access 100+ club and international teams in our free-to-play version from day one’ instead of showing the badge of nine teams in one slide there would be no worrying about how many clubs you can play with or whether each team/league will be additional DLC.
The next major info drop is due at the end of August, when we can expect a release date, hopefully a clearer idea of what game modes will be available, and the cost – as well as how many teams are available, if profiles will carry over from each platform, and their plans for the Switch. Maybe even talk more about what their future plans are, historical teams, and seasons as additional DLC.
I am optimistic about the direction the game could go but at the same time I’ve been a gamer for long enough to know that Konami could totally make a mess of this and have already, as the fans online have said, completely forgotten their fanbase in their rush to try something new.
For the moment the issue is too much has been left open to interpretation, hopefully that will change in the next few weeks.
By reader Rankmed
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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