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Sing when winning: Pro Evo 13′s bid to recapture the title

Saturday, 28 July 2012 15:05 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

As the titans of the video game premiership prepare for their latest head-to-head, Stace Harman speaks to the Pro Evolution Soccer team about the past, present and future of the beautiful game.

Pro Evo 2013

Pro Evolution 2013 will mark the 12th release in the series.

Check out Sam’s attempt to avenge England’s recent Euro 2012 defeat at the hands of Italy. It did not go well.

Pro Evo 2013 will be playable at EG Expo in September.

Grab the demo for PC and 360 now, PS3 version “coming later”.

My summer with PES

There are two things that I most fondly recall of early Pro Evo games (for me, it’s never been ‘PES’, the official abbreviation is too closely associated with small, sweet brickettes and their cartoon dispensers); the first is scoring the best goal that has ever been scored in any game of football anywhere in the world, ever. That includes real life, a video game, pub foosball, Subbuteo and your wildest dreams. I can’t even begin to explain the intricacies and exact movement that went into its creation because, frankly, I don’t remember much about it.

What I do remember is that it constituted one of those perfect moments that cause a rush of unbridled joy and that it had me jumping from my seat and tearing around the house shouting “goooooooooooooooal”! Everyone reading this will know exactly the feeling that I’m talking about because everyone reading this has scored that goal. That’s the beauty of playing video games or of being Lionel Messi.

The second thing I recall of early Pro Evo games is my youngest brother sitting cross-legged in front of the TV, patiently applying his encyclopaedic knowledge of the beautiful game to players, teams and kits using the in-game editor; a feat made necessary by Pro Evo’s lack of full official licenses.

One of these has long been one of Pro Evo’s strengths, the other has traditionally been a weakness. In the early days, the lack of full official licensing mattered less, because while FIFA was generally more popular, Pro Evo represented the thinking man’s football title, but as the years went by, Pro Evo’s star began to wane in comparison to the increasingly dazzling FIFA supernova.

FIFA had always been popular, of course, but it began to close the quality gap too, and it soon reached the point where the millions EA spent on endorsements, player likenesses, motion capture and music licences were the icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself.

A solid, well-formed game began to take shape beneath the glitz and glamour as FIFA turned itself from an arcade kickabout capable of producing ridiculous jumpers-for-goalposts score lines or runs of no-score-bore-draws into a closer, simulated facsimile of the beautiful game. At the same time, Pro Evo wasn’t so much doing anything wrong as it was doing anything at all, simply failing to fully deliver on its promises or evolve the way that FIFA was, but then it’s often easier to catch the frontrunner than it is to lead the pack.

A new generation

Like the arrival of a new manager or superstar player, current gen consoles herelded much promise and excitement amongst Pro Evo’s avid supporters; it even piqued the interest of lapsed Pro Evo players like me, who hadn’t kicked a digital ball for some time.

Pro Evo 2013 E3 Trailer

Unfortunately, Pro Evo’s initial efforts on the current gen were a mixed bag, which allowed FIFA to gain further credence with even the most discerning football console connoisseur and it started to attract defectors, further widening the gap between the two in the popularity stakes.

The discrepancy between the two in sales has been particularly noticeable in the football-loving UK, where EA claimed that last year’s FIFA 12 outsold its Pro Evo counterpart by an enormous 25:1, something that Jon Murphy, Pro Evo team leader, later claimed was not representative of his game’s success in wider Europe and its native Japan.

Murphy also expressed his frustration at constant off-kilter comparisons between the two rivals and stated that FIFA’s rise in quality over the years and its more authentic approach to digital football can be attributed to EA’s willingness to learn from its rival or, as Murphy more bluntly phrased it “…we shouldn’t forget that PES innovated all of this stuff and they did copy it”.

It was bait that EA refused to take, instead presenting a united front in claiming that the company is “very respectful” of its closest competitor, but you can be sure that won’t be the last that we hear on the matter from either camp.

Future prospects

As with all good football rivalries, real or virtual, there comes a point at which you have to stop focusing on your opponent’s achievements, the attention that it garners from the media and the perceived preferential treatment it might get from purveyors of the sport and instead focus on your own game. To Konami’s credit, it appears to be doing just that with the recent announcement that the Japanese company is to open a new UK-based Pro Evo studio, which should help it recapture some of the ground it has lost to EA over recent years and help Murphy in his campaign to have the Pro Evo team in Japan connect more closely with the fans in the UK.

“It’s probably fair to say that PES has suffered a little due to not having full officialicences.But we need to differentiate ourselves from FIFA, so that we don’t have totally the same licence, otherwise there will be no distinction, so, we’re trying to focus on gameplay mprovements.”

There’s also the host of new and refined features that Murphy highlights will be part of this Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, such as Player ID.

“Years and years ago, PES was known for being the first game to represent a player properly; like when we introduced Beckham’s distinctive style of taking a free kick,” Murphy recalls. “Player ID is an expansion of that concept that covers skills and animations across all parts of the pitch. It also includes some unique skills or animations to specific players.

“There’s also the Proactive AI which responds more intelligently to where the ball is, meaning it will track up the pitch with you. With full manual passing you can lead players to have them run into space and with deft touch dribbling you can hold the ball up and the AI will spot that and try to create space for you.”

It’s clear that Konami will not be humbled by unflattering sales comparisons and distracting talk of “the glory days” of Pro Evo; its focus is on the road ahead. Additional improvements to other areas of this year’s Pro Evo include an overhauled tackling system, more responsive defending and intelligent goalkeepers who will be better at using different parts of their bodies to keep the ball out of the net, making it clear that Konami’s focus extends to all areas of the pitch, not just the sexy goal scoring positions.

Murphy’s presentation suggests that both the training system and myPES Facebook app will also receive attention. All of which means there’s just one major area that has not yet been directly discussed and it’s an area that, despite the willingness of many to make use of the comprehensive in-game editor, has contributed to Pro Evo losing out to FIFA in years gone by.

“It’s probably fair to say that PES has suffered a little due to not having full official licences,” concedes Pro Evo’s senior producer Naoya Hatsumi. “That’s why we’re in negotiations to add additional licensing to the franchise.

“We would point out that we have improved the edit functions to change the teams to look how the player wants them to. But we also need to differentiate ourselves from FIFA, so that we don’t have totally the same licence as FIFA, otherwise there will be no distinction and that’s why we’re trying to focus on the game play improvements.

“But, yes, as far as the licensing thing goes: we’re going to do our best.”

If football has taught us anything, it’s that the result of any one match is never a foregone conclusion. One team may have a swankier stadium and its player’s drive flashier cars, but you never know when the opposition is going to produce that moment of magic that sees it snatch victory. Footballing history is rife with just such stories and Konami is working to make the 2012-2013 season the one in which it rewards its fans, delivers on its promises and starts the long campaign to bring home the cup.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 is out later this year on 3DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360.

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3 Comments

  1. Stardog

    What’s the point in Proactive AI, etc, when they can’t get the basic gameplay correct.

    It’s the same crap every year from this game. Terrible first touches from simple passes, defender catch-up, feeble finesse shots (which PES invented) and heading lottery, etc.

    Awful.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. PEYJ

    Totally disagree. Judging from the demo (which might not be fair, we’ll see) it is the best football game ever in my opinion. Most importantly the AI from ref, the goalie and the other players are remarkably improved. That’s what Fifa have always have been incredibly horrible at.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. NocturnalB

    Like SergioqfhRamon implied i’m a completely useless spambot created by a crack team of programmers turned identity stealing hackers who couldn’t cut it in the real industry (probably due to their lack of talent and redeeming qualities to their personalities) and are now forced to leech and steal off of society in order to feed and house their worthless undeserving asses.
    spambotsucksass dot gofuckyourself dot net

    #3 3 years ago

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  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U update comes with 15 extra stages

    An update for Super Smash Bros. Wii U has been released, and it comes with 15 new stages for the 8-player mode. The update, version 1.0.2., is 316MB in size and the stages are split with nine normal stages and six Omega stages. Here’s the list: Regular stages Animal Crossing – Smashville Animal Crossing – […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update includes Metroid Prime Trilogy, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. demo

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Shadow of the Ninja on Virtual Console and a demo for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Here’s your update: Metroid Prime: Trilogy – Wii U Rock ’N Racing Off Road – Wii U Frenchy Bird – Wii U Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – […]

  • Battlefield Hardline open beta takes place next week on all systems

    Details and dates for the Battlefield Hardline open multiplayer beta were announced by EA and Visceral Games today. From February 3-8, the beta will be available to all players worldwide on Origin for PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You’ll notice that the dates coincide with the Microsoft slip up earlier in […]

  • Transistor, Yakuza 4, Thief headline February PS Plus offerings

    Sony has announced your free PlayStation Plus games for the month of February. Come February 3 in North America and February 4 in Europe, Plus members on both side of the pond will be gifted with the following: Transistor (PS4) Apotheon (PS4) Yakuza 4 (PS3) Thief (PS3) Rogue Legacy (PS Vita|PS4|PS3) Kick & Fennick (PS […]

  • Life is Strange launch trailer and final dev diary released

    With the first episode of Life is Strange releasing tomorrow, Dontnod Entertainment has released the last developer diary for the title as well as the launch trailer. Titled Creating Arcadia Bay, the video provides more information on the licensed soundtrack as well as the voice actors behind Max and Chloe. It also touches upon how […]

  • LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers out this year

    LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers have been announced by Warner Bros., the former was outed by Toys R Us and then teased at the end of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, if you recall. LEGO Jurassic World encompasses all four Jurassic Park films and will be made available in June for 3DS, PC, […]

  • Pokemon, Super Smash Bros. top Nintendo’s million units sales list for Q3

    Nintendo has posted a list of titles which have sold millions of units as part of its quarter three earnings release. Global unit sales of 3DS titles for the nine months ending December 31, 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: 9.35 million (life-to-date, same) Super Smash Bros.: 6.19 million (life-to-date, same) Tomodachi Life: 2.11 […]

  • How to take a screenshot on Xbox One: a lesson in frustration

    Trying to do just one simple thing seems to have 360 steps with Microsoft – why is the Xbox One’s functionality such a car crash? “The Xbox One’s definition of usability is in fact the exact opposite – this is a console designed to make life inconvenient for its players unless they sign up for […]

  • Game of Thrones’ Westeros is being made in Minecraft by 125 people

    WesterosCraft, the project dedicated to creating the entirety of Game of Thrones’ Westros has resurfaced. There are more than a few ambitious Minecraft projects, but hardly any as impressive as WesterosCraft. We first came across it all the way back in January 2013, but it looks much better now. “I would say the world is […]

  • Dying Light exploit gives you unlimited money and items

    Dying Light has been out for just over a day and an infinite money and item exploit is already out there. A simple exploit has been discovered in Dying Light that lets you duplicate weapons, all of which you can sell for profit. Win/ win. YouTuber PowerPyx lays out the steps in the handy video […]

  • Sunset Overdrive concept art is as jovial as the game itself

    Sunset Overdrive is a colourful game which is partly due to its concept art. The concept art featured below is created by Vaughan Ling, one of the concept artsists who worked on Sunset Overdrive. Anyone who’s played the game will immediately recognise the locations, weapons, character designs and general atmosphere of the game through these. […]

  • Get an extended look at the PS4 version of Project CARS

    The PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS has been shown in 1080p 60fps. The video below is captured by racing game enthusiasts Team VVV from a preview build. You can see different racing disciplines being demonstrated here, on different circuits. The game’s impressive visuals get even better when the weather gets worse.

  • Battle Pod is the Star Wars arcade game you’ve waited your whole life for

    Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade game that lets you replay the battles of the original trilogy, and features an incredible cockpit. If you’ve never played a game at an arcade before, Star Wars: Battle Pod will definitely be the one to change your mind. It’s an arcade cabinet out of a classic Star […]

  • CoD Exo Zombies: how to unlock the Ride of the Valkyries Easter egg

    To no one’s surprise, Exo Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has some Easter eggs. The first Exo Zombies Easter egg, of surely many more to come, has been discovered. It’s a musical one that involves Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. How you unlock it is not as convoluted as you might […]

  • Dying Light is sub-1080p on Xbox One, full 1080p on PS4 – report

    Early analysis of Dying Light on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has revealed a few technical details about both ports. Digital Foundry has produced some analysis of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Dying Light based on some early testing. Both versions manage a solid 30 frames-per-second, only dipping below that in […]

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault DLC free to all EA Access members

    EA is offering Battlefield 4′s Second Assault expansion free to anyone with an active EA Access subscription. Anyone with an active subscription to EA Access can download the Second Assault expansion pack for Battlefield 4 starting January 29 and through February 28, free of charge. All you need to do is find it on the […]

  • The Witcher 3 is getting optimised, but no visual downgrade

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the final stages of development and developer CD Projekt RED is making sure optimisation work doesn’t impact the game’s visuals. The Witcher 3 art producer, Michal Stec, spoke to Eternity in an interview and was asked whether the team will downgrade the visuals to get better performance. “No. […]

  • Can’t download Dying Light on PS4? Here’s a fix

    If you’ve bought Dying Light on PS4 and you’re having trouble downloading it, you’re not alone. Here’s how to beat the bug. Techland’s Dying Light is stumbling out of the blocks a little this week, with many PS4 users experiencing problems with their full-game downloads. A bug’s to blame. Your console thinks you’ve already installed […]

  • What The Witcher 3 owes to Skyrim – and how it surpasses it

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt owes more than a nod to Bethesda’s Skyrim. I went to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had a great time. I went in a fan of the books but not very experienced with the first two games. I came out with The Witcher 3 top of my gaming […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online has great monsters

    Dragon’s Dogma Online looks pretty rad – an undesirable quality in a game unlikely to come west, from our perspective. The first Dragon’s Dogma trailer was released this afternoon; admire its beauty below. The free to play online RPG was announced for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4 overnight, but Capcom doesn’t intend to bring it […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X map about five times the size of last game’s

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is not a small game. This week’s Famitsu has a feature on Xenoblade Chronicles X giving some details on Monolith Soft’s next RPG and first Wii U game. According to Siliconera‘s translation of reports on the feature, the game’s map is about five times the size of that in Xenoblade Chronicles. The […]

  • Take on Mars expected to hit beta in April

    Take on Mars, the space sim from Bohemia Interactive will soon be reader for wider consumption. According to a new Take on Mars development roadmap, the sim will go into beta at the start of April, with full release expected in June. The project is currently available via Steam early Access, but between now and […]

  • Can you guess the next Mortal Kombat X character reveal from this fatality audio clip?

    Mortal Kombat X will have at least one very liquid-sounding fatality. NetherRealm is revealing Mortal Kombat X’s cats one character at a time, and has promised a new reveal during a community Twitch stream tomorrow. It also provided the following teaser video – it’s audio only, and apparently taken from a fatality sequence. What’s your […]

  • Nintendo Creators Program now recruiting YouTubers – PewDiePie, others weigh-in

    Nintendo has opened a Creators Program designed to ensure creators get a slice of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo assets, and some prominent YouTubers aren’t pleased with the company. Update “What Nintendo are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube,” wrote Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) on his […]

  • Xbox Live issues under investigation

    Can’t sign into Xbox Live? Microsoft is on the case. Xbox 360 and Xbox One users report being unable to sign in to Xbox Live. Microsoft is already aware of and working on the problem. “Our team is hard at work right now trying to get this resolved. Thank you for staying patient while we […]

  • Make money from your non-Valve mods with Steam Workshop

    Valve has opened the money-making side of Steam Workshop to third-party titles, giving enterprising modders more ways to make money. Steam now hosts curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the first non-Valve games to support the scheme. What that means is that community members can create, vote on and eventually even […]

  • Check out DmC: Devil May Cry’s new manual lock-on

    DmC: Devil may Cry developer Ninja Theory has released a video showing off the new, controversial lock-on mode. The new manual lock-on is causing quite a stir, although its reception is probably better than the white-wigged Dante who makes fans even more upset than the original makeover. “The primary purpose of this video is to […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes looks pretty fun

    Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another Omega Force take on an existing property – like Hyrule Warriors or the One Piece games. And it looks pretty sweet. We haven’t heard much from Dragon Quest Heroes here in the west because it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside Japan. This isn’t terribly surprising as we still […]

  • Square Enix to reveal new PS4 game this weekend

    Square Enix is doing something pretty mysterious right now. The Final Fantasy publisher is teasing something called Project Code Z. The project, which Square Enix is tweeting about in Japanese, English and German, is due for reveal at Tokaigi 2015 on Saturday. It’s a PS4 game, but that’s all we know. There’s a website you […]

  • Tetris has crowned its first known western Grand Master

    Tetris fans have a new western champion. Tetris is one of those gaming obsessions that goes much deeper than you might expect. For example, did you know that some versions of the game assess your performance and over you the chance to become a “grand master”? Turns out that’s a thing, and according to Polygon […]

  • Ken Levine’s next game teased as “sci-fi-ish” small, open-world RPG

    A series of tweets from BioShock creator Ken Levine has shed a sliver of light upon his next project. According to Levine he and his team are considering something a bit sci-fi and contemplating first-person mode. The team is developing the game for PC with a large in scope, expandable, systems-based narrative where more can […]

  • Become a lynx in new Shelter 2 trailer

    Shelter 2 casts players in the role of a lynx, which makes for quite a different experience to the badger of the first game. The first Shelter game had you evading predators, but in the second, you becomes one yourself. That doesn’t mean there are no dangers to face, of course. Judging by the trailer […]

  • Why King of Fighters 13 isn’t coming back to Evo

    Evo, the premiere western fighting game tournament, has dropped support for a few previously favoured titles. King of Fighters 13 had a loyal following, but isn’t featured in the Evo 2015 line-up. “Many things go into what games makes it to Evo, but the most obvious one is, ‘Is the community playing this game?’” Evo […]