Recently, Konami revealed that its Pro Evolution Soccer series would be renamed to eFootball and going free-to-play. Quite a bit is changing, from its monetization – with additional modes and Match Passes purchasable separately – to the version functioning as more of a “platform” that will be updated over time. Speaking to IGN, series producer Seitaro Kimura says planning for the shift occurred “roughly two years.”
“We started planning this move roughly two years ago to coincide with the console generation transition and changes in the market environment. I believe that we have already proven that this structure can be successful on mobile. By applying the same model across all platforms, we hope that more football fans will be able to play this game on consoles as well.”
Kimura also noted some of the changes coming to the control, like sprinting now being done by holding down the Right Trigger. There’s also Ball Control which “takes advantage of the R2/RT [trigger buttons’] analog input to freely control the strength of the ball touch, and ‘Knock-On’ enables instantaneous strong touches. Since dribbling is naturally against a defender, we have also added some new elements to the defensive controls, such as ‘Match-up’ and ‘Physical Defending’.
“In order to understand how the best players in the world play the sport, we brought in [footballers Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué] as gameplay advisors and asked for their advice. It was a big decision to change the controls that people are used to, but it made the battle for the ball more realistic and more reflective of the user’s intentions.”
The objective is to make playing against others more enjoyable since Kimura feels it provides “a greater thrill than what AI can provide. We believe that the 1v1 offense and defense realized in this way is the most important innovation of eFootball.”
Along with bigger updates, eFootball will have weekly live updates. This will reflect any real-world changes to squads along with transfers. There will also be “in-game campaigns” though not much information was provided on the same. Each season will see roster updates, new kits and upgrades to both the gameplay and visuals. Player feedback will play a role and help facilitate changes faster than usual.
“The platform model gives us the opportunity to provide meaningful updates irregularly, if appropriate, without having to ask users to download a new game,” says Kimura.
eFootball is slated to release this Autumn for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5 with the iOS and Android versions following later. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.