Renowned pachinko maker and health club operator Konami has announced plans for the future of the Pro Evolution Soccer game series.
Konami used to be a video game company, but they have gone to great lengths to reduce their gaming activities. Your biggest ongoing major project in the gaming area is Pro Evolution Soccer, but many have wondered how long it will take. They still release a new PES game every year, but it seems like they’re reducing the budget every year, and the series’ sales are now being overshadowed by EA’s FIFA so that it’s no longer even a competition is. You have made efforts to advance the game as an esport, but with limited success.
It seems that Konami has two options on the table regarding Pro Evolution Soccer. They have to invest hard in the series to bring them back to their former glory and take over FIFA directly. That wouldn’t be cheap or easy, but it might help reverse the series.
The other option that would make sense to me would be to sell the intellectual property and maybe even the development studio that is currently behind the game to one of the other publishers who are able to handle a game like PES. I am sure that Ubisoft or Activision would like to have a prestigious and long-running sport series and they would have the resources to compete with EA. Sega would also be a viable candidate because they have a strong brand in many parts of the world where football plays a big role and are generally considered good administrators of the Football Manager series. I would not be surprised if the Chinese technology giant Tencent would also be interested. The international nature of football could make a popular series like PES an interesting opportunity for the right publishers.
At least for now, this is not the way Konami will go. It appears they are taking the first option and making plans for the series’ immediate and long-term future.
Pro Evolution Soccer games have been running on Fox Engine, a proprietary multi-platform game engine developed by Konami, since 2013. This was the engine that was specifically designed for Metal Gear Solid 5, but should be used by Konami in general for a variety of games. Ultimately, it was used by Metal Gear Solid 5, the spin-off title Metal Gear Survive, the ultimately abandoned prototype PT, and a host of Pro Evolution Soccer games. I would perhaps speculate that it would not be really economical for Konami to continue with the significant amount of work required to maintain a general-purpose game engine, especially with a transition of the console generation on the horizon, and especially if it did Use it for one-game series.
Perhaps that is why they have announced that they will no longer use the Fox Engine in the future. As of next year’s release, Pro Evolution Soccer will use Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 as Konami says they “take PES to a whole new level”.
“This title is being developed with an updated engine that allows us to blind you with amazing improvements in all areas of the game. Expect more realistic player models and animations, improved physics, photo-realistic graphics and much more. “
Since this engine shift will not take place for this year’s title, Konami has made the unusual decision to announce that this year’s title will only offer a “seasonal update” at a lower price than usual. Essentially, just update the player lists and make a few minor changes to update them for the past season, but don’t implement any major new features or changes. Players waiting for the engine update will have to wait another year.
You have a trailer with a soccer player who explains this decision, although he may not explain anything after considering it.
There are some more details about this blog post.
It’s a shame to see that a very powerful engine that has achieved some impressive results has to be largely abandoned by its owner, not because of technical flaws, but because of strategic management decisions that undermine the engine’s usefulness. Maybe in the future it will see the light of day again, but at least for PES the future will be in Unreal Engine.
Are you a pro evo player? Would you be curious to see what this engine change could do? Will this year’s release be a little update that will take you towards FIFA? Would you like another publisher to take over Pro Evolution Soccer? Let us know in the comments.