The Konami-owned Pro Evolution Soccer series will be going through a major change this year. Not only is its name being changed to eFootball, but it will now be a free-to-play title that will see yearly roadmaps instead of yearly releases. Due to this switch, the game will also now only see a digital release. Since most sports games currently sell their base each year, then attempt to sell currency, ultimate teams, and more anyway, this feels like a welcome change.
Not only that, by winter of this year the game aims to be completely cross-play. Confirmed systems getting the game are PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC with IOS and Andriod to follow. There is currently no word on if the Switch will be getting the game as well. Players on Mobile will need to use a controller if they want to play with Console or PC players.
This change will see the franchise have a universal name across its markets (instead of PES in the west and Winning Eleven in Japan) and all versions of the game from console to mobile acting functionally the same. This could mean that PES Mobile will be getting phased out before the game’s release or shortly after. eFootball will also be using a new custom engine created with Unreal 4, as opposed to the companies in house FOX engine which the series had used for years.
eFootball will launch with exhibition matches and 9 clubs for players to choose from. Additional modes will be available as optional paid DLC, allowing players to essentially tailor the experience to what they want out of the game. There have been no mentions on MyClub, which is similar to the Ultimate Team Mode from FIFA, or the games career mode Master League at this time. However, it seems that MyClub might be replaced with a ‘Team Building Mode’ listed on the game’s roadmap.
While there is a lot of difference going into eFootball from Pes, there will be some returning features. Peter Drury and Jim Beglin will be returning as the English language commentators for the game. On top of that, the much-loved option files which allow players to customize the game will also see a return. This feature will be released post-launch however.
While gamers at launch should probably expect a lighter game that they are used to (even if they buy every mode), the free-to-play model will see content being added regularly to the game. The current roadmap is listed above, with more content already planned for after it.
The move to a new engine will also help with the game’s animation, with a new Motion Matching animation system, allowing for four times as many animations as previous games. This will also be applied universally across all versions of the game.
More information about eFootball‘s gameplay and mode will be revealed in late August, around the time of Gamescom 2021. This will be close to the Autumn release of the game as well.