Konami’s Jon Murphy seems fed up with the perception of Pro Evolution Soccer as second-best to EA Sports’ FIFA, when the latter owes so much to the former.
In a candid interview with Eurogamer, the PES team leader said FIFA no longer deserves its sales lead.
“We’ve always had a product quality lead on them, but we’ve never overtaken them in sales,” Murphy said.
“There’s a certain amount of work they’ve done very well on PR to convince people that the gap is bigger than it actually is.”
Asked to explain further, Murphy said that opinion on how PES stacks up against FIFA in terms of gameplay experience no longer tracks the facts of the matter, as Konami has turned the franchise around after a couple of less than stellar outings a few years ago. On top of that, Murphy believes FIFA owes a serious debt to PES.
“I also think we don’t get enough recognition for the way we tend to innovate still and [the FIFA team] do still tend to follow a lot of what we do,” he added.
“If you look further back into the past of PES you can see they’ve obviously gone from a game that was totally different from PES to one that started copying PES to one that started taking areas PES did well further into the product they have now.”
Murphy agreed that he was accusing EA Sports of copying PES with FIFA, although he softened the blow by saying it was mostly historical.
“People shouldn’t forget that’s how they got where they are. You can give them loads of credit for how they’ve got to where they got to now, and you can see it as a totally valuable product in its own right that does have ideas we can all learn from, but we shouldn’t forget that PES innovated all of this stuff and they did copy it,” he said.
“In many cases it must be coincidental. But then you do see them reacting to what we’ve done last year quite naturally. For example, this year they’re talking about the AI and gameplay as being a key force, which is exactly what we were dealing with last year as a key feature. That’s not a coincidence, I’m sure.”
But Murphy was ready to give the opposition its due, too.
“I’m not going to start knocking the fact they’ve pushed the football genre onwards, while we were stagnating, and they’ve invested properly in this generation of consoles,” he acknowledged.
“That’s really kicked them on. But it’s just a bit galling at times that people throw FIFA in your face constantly, and you’re thinking, well hold on, the only reason why FIFA is in the position it’s in now is because of PES. And it doesn’t mean to say FIFA will always occupy that position.”