eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 was a real beauty on current-gen, and we had tons of fun playing it, but we now look into the future and wonder what Konami will do with Unreal Engine 5, after deciding to skip this year's release.
Will the King of the pitch retain his throne on the next-gen consoles?
Like most of my friends, I spent my childhood staring at a CRT screen in a video store, playing ISS Pro Evolution on the PS1. Brazil, Nigeria, the Netherlands... we played until the colors melted. Ahh... Good times.
Now, let's snap back to reality and come back to 2020. One of the bright spots, at least for us gamers in this dark year, is the release of new consoles this holiday. Both Sony and Microsoft claim that they have prepared some awesome new hardware to play on over the next few years. And with said hardware comes what we always hope for - a generational leap in visuals, physics, loading times, etc.
As we already know, Konami have decided to skip the standard annual release for PES this year, and we will get Season Update 2021 instead of Pro Evolution Soccer 2021. This could be a good move because it means that next year we will have a pure next-gen PES, which will be developed on Unreal Engine 5.
We’re not going into many details now, but these are some of the things we’d like to see in next-gen PES:
1. New engine - improvement in physics
OK, this has been known lately. Konami decided to discard their own FOX Engine and switch to UE5, for a complete overhaul of PES 2022. We think this is a very good move, and personally can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. We wish they had done this earlier, but better late than never.
FOX Engine has given us one of the most beautiful football simulations in PES 2020, so we are confident that we'll be more than thrilled with Unreal Engine 5.
2. Better AI - smart(er) referee
PES has always had solid gameplay. His best selling ticket has always been gameplay. Playing against the CPU has always been fun. However, as the years went by, more and more people were dissatisfied with AI. Be it frozen teammates, or defensive opposing players who literally hand the ball to your feet, and perhaps most of all, with the awful decisions of the referees in PES 2020. We expect Konami to raise this segment to a higher level.
3. Overhauled Master League - a reboot of the fans favorite
One of the favorite mods in the community is ML. For several years now, it seems to us that Konami are forgetting, consciously or not, to put at least a little effort into it. The new powerful hardware and Unreal engine could offer devs insane resources for creating the most realistic football simulation ever, and the Master League could flourish the most.
4. Better Multiplayer - more mods, less lag
The aforementioned ML is probably the collateral damage of what Konami have high hopes for, and that is MyTeam. The mode itself is not bad, but it is far from what EA do with FUT, in which they pump huge amounts of money and introduces innovations every year, and their players come back again and again.
Speaking of EA, one of our favorite mods in FIFA is Pro Clubs. Although neglected by EA because of FUT, of course, this mode offers incredible fun for you and your friends. I would love to see a ‘pro clubs’ mode for PES.
What I have to specifically mention as a thing that MUST improve is Online matchmaking. Konami needs to invest more resources in this area if they want to stay relevant.
5. Option File Support for Microsoft Xbox consoles - one nation, one patch
PES has a huge community, and some gamers work wonders with custom mods. The PC profits the most here. PS is not far from that, with the support of option files, and with a few clicks and a little effort you can have a licensed game. I would love to se Xbox Series X getting the Option File support, as we believe that PS5 will have it just like PS4 did.
Having already mentioned the licenses, we want more licensed leagues and clubs in PES 2022, of course, but we don’t think that’s possible given the licenses held by EA.