13 July 2021
Konami has announced major overhaul plans including new branding for Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), a football simulation game franchise. PES has officially been renamed to eFootball globally, even in Japan where the game was sold as Winning Eleven. The biggest change is that it will be a free-to-play game across all platforms that will release on.
eFootball will launch for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S and X, Xbox One, and PC devices. Its Android and iOS versions will be released sometime later but as for Nintendo Switch, nothing has been said yet. The game will be a digital download for all platforms with no physical copy launch. There will also be cross-play support but mobile gamers will need to have a controller to play against console and PC players.
The game will offer local matches absolutely free to all players regardless of the device. These matches will feature Konami's nine football club partners including Manchester United, Juventus, FC Barcelona, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich. The team will add more game modes like online multiplayer and make your own club in a gradual manner with at least some of them being DLC releases.
There will be Match Pass System where will get free rewards for playing the game and completing certain objectives. This looks similar to how we have a pass system in battle royale games. It is even present in Konami's closest rival EA Sports' FIFA franchise's FUT mode. It allows players to get certain football players without having to spend money. And yes, it is also bidding farewell to the annual paid release model that sports games usually follow.
In terms of under the hood changes, Konami has now shifted from the old FOX engine to a custom-built engine based on Unreal 4. It is expected to deliver a better gaming experience across all devices. The new engine helped the team to implement a new animation system called Motion Matching. It is claimed to deliver four times as many animations as any of the previous PES versions. More details about the eFootball gameplay and different game modes will be shared in August i.e. next month.