Even after being one of the most revealing press releases ever regarding PES 2010, it’s still left many people with more questions than answers. For some the content is something they’ve seen before, while others have managed to see clear differences from previous years. Talking of diverse opinions, a common theme in forums alike was continuous mention of the need of a new engine. For many, the upgrade of PES 2008 to 2009 was an indication that the engine isn’t good enough for next-gen consoles. But I ask, is it the engine that’s holding the game back?
In my opinion, no. I have three reason to believe we haven’t really seen the best of the existing engine, and why perhaps this year we will see it at its full potential.
Since EA banded the term ‘New Engine’ to their more recent FIFA titles, people have been in awe of the term – thanks to the very impressive results. This coupled with the poor technical achievement of the PES series on next-gen has left many to believe that a revamp is the obvious answer. Its a fair assumption to make, but I feel it’s a misguided one. Throughout the past 2 years we’ve had stories of staff problems, and word from Seabass himself that the development of PES is still stuck in the SNES days.
Things progressively moved forward for PES 2009, with a technically better game. Still, it was no match for the bells and whistles that came with FIFA 09. Side by side Konami’s game paled in comparison, and its frailties were clear for all to see. That together with another year of poor online gaming meant the fans didn’t get what they wanted.
But lets get to my reasons why I think we’ll see the engine pushed to it’s full potential this year.
First of all, Konami is a Japanese company – and that has been a disadvantage. Apart from Capcom, no other developer from the East has managed to compete with the West regarding technical achievements. Its been well documented, often from Japanese developers, that the West are ahead in terms of pushing the boundaries of the current hardware. Sure Konami put out MGS4, but that was another problem within the company that highlighted the erroneous situation further. You see, Kojima production, the team behind MGS, were separate from Konami HQ. Different studio, different working conditions (huge budgets) and different team (massive workforce). And, common within Japanese companies, their information and help was never called upon. Nothing personal, it’s just they way they worked.
Since then though things have changed. The company has been restructured and opened up, as has most of the Japanese developing community, meaning more involvement from the entire staff within the company. With these extra people, and specific duties given to dedicated teams, PES Productions has become a force. Proof of this team growing is shown by a separate team working on the Wii version, a second year away from Seabass’ watchful gaze.
That leads into my second point. The death of the PS2. I reported some weeks back that sales of Winning Eleven 2009 on PS2 in Japan has been eclipsed by the average sales of the next-gen version. It’s a clear indication that people are moving to newer consoles and slowly leaving PS2 behind. With the chief revenue not coming from Sony’s greatest ever console anymore, they have no choice but to fully focus on the hardware that matters.
And my final point is really simple. A combination of all the above, with the fact that it’s been another year of development. PES 2008 was a technical mess, while PES 2009 stabilized the series. With stability comes an opportunity to achieve things you weren’t able to do, and with a bigger team and more than a year of development under its belt something special can be achieved.
With this belief and personal opinion, it opens up another question. If this year the engine is maxed out, does that mean they have to create a new one for the year after? That’s another topic for another time, let’s hope PES 2010’s technical achievements mean we are indeed left asking that question come this time next year.