eFootball arrives. News and doubts about the Konami football game

Everything changed. Pro Evolution Soccer, apparently, no longer exists. Or rather: his name has become past history, the banner of a series that has almost completely transformed itself, both in appearance and substance. The farewell to the PES brand marks the rise of a new brand, whose roots had already been planted two years ago, with eFootball PES 2020. Now Konami has decided to completely change its football training, making it free to play, only digital and with a continuous support program in which there will be modes available for purchase. Pro Evolution Soccer leaves the green rectangle for a replacement that can only raise some small doubts about the strategies adopted by the Japanese company: now eFootball takes the field.

Football for all

There is no doubt that Konami has always had an eye for the free to play market: just look at the Lite incarnations of the previous episodes of the PES series, which still offered a respectable amount of content. eFootball starts from this assumption but raises it to the very foundation of its distribution logics.

The new soccer game of the Japanese company is totally free, or almost: in the Konami press release it is specified that in the future it will be possible to buy some game modes as “optional DLC” to allow anyone to customize their experience according to their needs and the interests of individual users. This is an approach that can generate its fruits, but it will be necessary to understand in detail what will be the scope of the proposed paid modes and whether the basic version of the game will be able to offer satisfying and lasting content. It will also be necessary to understand what we can expect from the single and online modes, what will be the new face of MyClub and offline Career. To find out these details we will have to wait until August, when Konami will reveal more in depth the plans for its eFootball. The only digital nature of the game allows us to assume that the Japanese company intends to make its football a sort of software in progress, with continuous support, abandoning the annual progressive numbering.

The presence of a road map just sketched, in this regard, it becomes a further declaration of intent. At the beginning of autumn, players will have access to the “basic” version of the game, which includes the possibility of playing local matches (and in generational cross matchmaking) with a limited number of selectable teams, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus If these will be the only elements of the offer at launch, the impression is that it would be mostly an extended demo, and not an actually complete game.

During the autumn, Konami will add the team building mode (with the provisional name) with which to build your own team by buying (with in-game currency?) New players. In the same period the online championships and the Match Pass system with which to earn items and players simply by playing eFootball. With the arrival of winter, not only will both amateur and professional esports tournaments begin, but support for cross platform matchmaking between consoles, PC and mobile devices used with a compatible controller will also be added. And it is from this last detail that the first doubts emerge about the playful framework of eFootball.

Many platforms for the same game?

Unlike the direct competitor from Electronic Arts, the Konami football does not seem willing to boast of offering a proudly next gen experience: from the statements of the team, in fact, eFootball is proposed as a simulation – we quote verbatim – “correct, balanced and within everyone’s reach”, designed to leave no player behind.

On the other hand, the title will see the light on practically all the systems currently available, with the exception of Nintendo Switch: it will be possible to play both on PS5 and on PS4, on Xbox Series X / S and Xbox One, on Windows 10, on Steam and even on the Android and iOS mobile platforms. Our perplexities arise precisely around this desire to democratize the simulation experience: how realistically it is possible to create a game that marks a considerable step forward in terms of playful and technical verisimilitude, if we have to come to terms, in the name of cross platform matchmaking , not only with the consoles of the past generation but even with mobile systems? In this way, the risk is that the gameplay structure is subject to inevitable restrictions to allow iOS and Android users to play “on par” with the owners of next gen platforms. The management of physics, the control system, the reactivity of the animations, the rendering of the sphere are all fundamental aspects to give shape to a simulation worthy of the name, which finalizes a considerable step forward compared to the past.

One wonders what percentage of these technological “advancements” are sacrificed on the altar of cross-platform with portable platforms. Only time will give us an answer, and in all sincerity we hope that our concerns will vaporize pad in hand. For now, unfortunately, there remains some (legitimate?) Estrangement about the objectives that Konami intends to pursue.

The words of the producer Seitaro Kimura, in any case, enhance the performance of the Unreal Engine which, according to him, has allowed to recreate and significantly improve the expressions of the players and their animations, setting up what should represent the most gameplay. intense and realistic ever made. An in-depth study on the playful soul of eFootball is expected for August, and at the moment we can not help but try to trust Konami’s statements: to move the game there will be the technology called Motion Matching, which captures the range of movement performed by the players on the pitch and converts it into a series of animations, then selecting the most accurate in real time.

According to what was confirmed by the press release, the system guarantees a number of animations four times higher than in the past. And here some uncertainties return to surface: all these high-sounding proclamations collide with the fact that Motion Matching will be used on all platforms, including latest generation consoles, PCs and mobile devices. While FIFA 22 has chosen to focus Hypermotion technology only on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S (at this link you can find our test of the FIFA 22 demo), eFootball extends this feature on every system. Here, this is a choice that leaves us perplexed and that leads us to fear the presence of some compromise too much on a playful level.

For now we are clearly in the realm of hypotheses, perhaps afflicted by a vein of pessimism, but in our opinion the premises – at least on the gameplay side – are not among the most exciting. While waiting to be happily proven wrong, we leave you the word: what are your impressions of the new eFootball? The comment space is all for you opinion makers of videogame football.