PES 2022

PES 2022 is coming - but not as you know it. After 26 series the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise is no more, with publisher Konami retiring the name and instead calling its new sports sim eFootball. The franchise is going free to play across PS5, Xbox Series X and a host of other formats, in a complete shake-up which is equal parts risky and exciting. What can you expect in terms of the eFootball release date, licenses and new gameplay features? GR’s PES 2022 guide has the comprehensive scouting report.

eFootball trailer: see six whole minutes here

The first trailer for eFootball dropped on July 21, and rans at an impressive six minutes. It features gameplay footage, tons of details, and interviews with Spanish supremos Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique. You can view it below.

eFootball demo: the first hint at a new era

PES 2022

(Image credit: Konami)

Konami pulled a huge surprise by dropping an eFootball demo on June 24. Named the 'New Football Game Online Performance Test', it was playable on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and S – but only for a limited time. The demo ran until midnight on July 8. It featured four clubs: FC Bayern, Juventus, Manchester United, and Barcelona. 

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Gameplay was noticeably slower than last couple of years, and a handful of other changes made themselves evident. The dash command moved from R1 to R2, and you could hold L2 to instruct a player to 'get between the opponent and the ball'. 

"The chief goal of the New Football Game Online Performance Test is to assess the stability and connection quality of our servers during online matches," said Konami. "For more details on the official release and the game itself, keep tuned for our announcement planned for 21/07/2021!" That announcement confirmed the move from PES 2022 to eFootball.

eFootball release date: September feels likely

eFootball

(Image credit: Konami)

Historically Konami has sought to pre-empt mammoth FIFA sales by bringing its game out a fortnight ahead of its big-bucks rival. PES 2018 landed on September 15 2017, PES 2019 on August 30 2018, and PES 2020 on September 10 2019. With the series launching on next-gen, it’s paramount that the new game drops before FIFA 22, which is coming on October 1. So we’re predicting an eFootball release date, with much social media fanfare, of late September.

eFootball gameplay details: what has Konami said?

eFootball

(Image credit: Konami)

eFootball will be free to play, bringing an end to the era of you shelling out 50 quid for a boxed version of PES each year. It's a fascinating change. However, Konami insists that its prime focus remains on gameplay – and specifically the intricate battle between an attacker and defender.

“We have created a one-on-one system that is incredibly thrilling and, most importantly, realistic,” says the publisher. “We went beyond the realm of PES, into a new world of virtual soccer. To signal this new era, we have decided to part ways with our beloved PES brand and rename it eFootball.”

The new game is described as “a new global brand for a global audience”, and is bound for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and PC. Fascinatingly, Konami is promising cross-platform matchmaking sometime after launch.

eFootball Unreal Engine: will we see it?

eFootball

(Image credit: Konami)

Yes! Bidding goodbye to Pro Evo’s Fox Engine era, Konami is switching to Unreal Engine in order to build eFootball. “Our development team in Japan tried it out, and they've seen they have so much more opportunity to do different things on the pitch when it comes down to gameplay visual effects,” Lennart Bobzien, European brand manager, confirmed to Eurogamer. “When they played around with the Unreal engine, they just decided this was the engine they wanted to use to make the step into the next-console generation. The Unreal engine is the base for the future of the PES series.”

eFootball wishlist: more intricacy and Master League magic

PES 2021

(Image credit: Konami)

With gameplay details scarce, speculation as to how eFootball might look and play has been left to fans. Thankfully, PES's esteemed history – it was considered the best footy sim of the PS2 era by a considerable margin – has kept the community strong.

Pinky1337 on Reddit lists a catalogue of specific, strong ideas, many of which should appeal to long-standing fans who want their chosen football series freshened up, and trigger intrigue from those weary of FIFA. “Heavily improve offensive AI,” he writes. “Strikers starting runs behind the defence in situations where my player is unable to pass are infuriating. Both on offence and defence, AI-controlled players need to react better to the ball. [Also] remake a lot of animations. Especially celebrations and goalkeepers. [There’s] so much stiff movement that is just ugly to look at.”

Aesthetics are a recurring theme. “Better facial animations,” he continues. “Have some fun with camera angles. It’s a video game [with] so much possibility. A PES 2017 trailer [featured a] celebration where the camera panned down to head height, and it looked like you ran along the players. That would be awesome. Players without a real face need to look way better [too]. 2K is a great example of how to do it right.”

This Twitter wishlist from @Rasheed1981 also feels straightforward yet achievable:

#PES2022 Wishlist (NON GAMEPLAY):👀- Stadium creator 🏟 (Edit Mode) - Allow us to download any commentary we want (like the Mobile PES)- Allow us to create and add real classic kits with short shorts (Edit Mode)- One or two new game modes (Offline/Online)@officialpes ♥️⚽🎮 pic.twitter.com/H9VypMjziNOctober 1, 2020

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As for long-haul play, the replacement for Master League is a major focus. Long before anyone had heard of Ultimate Team, it was the bedrock of PES’ halcyon days as you took a team of also-runs and gradually upgraded it with real players. Local co-op play for this marquee mode is seen as one way of bringing it back to the future.

“One of the most enjoyable moments of the entire console generation was when the penny dropped and I realised, through share play, I could play a Master League tournament with my brother,” writes John Blaze at evo-web. “When we lived together, this was something we would do in previous games and it was fun building a team and genuinely struggling doing so.”

“Playing through Share Play works well, but the graphical quality for the person not hosting is not the best, there is often lag and button press delay… I just don't understand how [local co-op] has been missed. This should essentially be the case with every game. Minor tweaks to gameplay and improved graphics are great but I just want gaming to return to a time where there was a genuine focus on fun.”

PES 2022 licenses: more Italian clubs coming

eFootball

(Image credit: Konami)

At least nine clubs – including Manchester United, Barcelona and Arsenal – are confirmed to appear in eFootball at launch, with online leagues and that new team-building mode (replacing Master League) coming around the same time. 

How more sides will be added to the game is unclear at this stage. But Konami already has exclusive rights to Juventus and AS Roma, and two more Italian sides team be teaming up with the series in time for PES 2022. The first is Napoli.

“There are two new Italian teams interested in Konami's export path and who will soon sign a collaboration with us, " series GM Manorito Hosoda told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We plan to create a new export competition in Italy with our five partners, including the most recent two."

You can see read more on the Napoli announcement, with the club becoming exclusive to Konami from next season onwards, in our May news story.

He goes on to say that more young players will be included going forwards, a move which will have a tangible gameplay effect: "I believe youth teams are fundamental for clubs, and including them will positively influence clubs in so many ways. We plan to recreate the training of the youth teams in the game and what results they must achieve to be promoted to the first team." Sounds promising.

Source : https://www.gamesradar.com/pes-2022-guide/

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