With a new PES announcement just around the corner, we take time to dissect what to expect from this years game.
Hype. It’s a dangerous word for any PES fan, and perhaps something that can be attributed to WENB more than the series over the years. From PES 2008 to 2010, the series went into decline, with rare moments of confidence in games that paled in significance compared to it’s PS2 heyday. As a fansite, and as a key component to gathering news for the series, we made mistakes in lead up to launch – something we apologized for in the past.
Then came the run up to PES 2011, and a promise from us to inform you as honestly as possible, and to try and gauge hype and excitement more accurately. I feel we did this better than ever, and what we got is a new game that brought back fans of the series and football fans alike. Sure the game has it’s issues, but for the first time we saw a clear direction from the team, and one which belonged to the consoles at hand. It was also clean slate, a fresh start you could say from the WEP team. A solid foundation to bring forward the ideas and representation of football Seabass and his team have envisaged for many years. And thats of course where PES 2012 comes in.
I’d like to take you to a conversation myself and Jon Murphy (PES Team Leader) had late last year when talking about this years game. While I can’t go into everything, the direction of the series came up many times. As we discussed this, it became clear to me just what PES 2012 would be, and that’s a game for the fans. As we delved into the specifics, even back then, Jon said one thing very important to me, and that’s the feedback collated would be key in shaping the future.
It might seem simple, or even expected, but it’s a choice which takes a lot of focus and motivation. As a games developer, there are many things that you yourself want to do, and even include in the series that might mean certain feedback isn’t attainable. But to base everything in what you do in what the fans want, well that’s a major decision.
I’ll use an example from the competitors camp. With the FIFA series, a focus on feedback and listening has always been there, but it’s clear the way it’s approached is very different. The company as a whole have a vast array of ideas, and the dev team (to their credit) are forever trying to think up the next big thing. Whether it be a brand new mode or important gameplay inclusion. This, as we’ve seen in the past years, has also brought many problems. EA’s inability to be happy with what they have and improve has caused things like manager mode/career mode to be severely flawed. Fans of the game would have been happy for EA to keep the mode as it was, and fix bugs while adding key features. With the ethos of doing something more, the FIFA team have continually struggled to hit solid ground, forcing themselves to always do something new, scared of being seen as standing still.
So this is where PES 2012 comes back in. It’s a game that has a team focused on a different ideology, and belief in what they want. Much can be said of the working environment the WEP team find themselves, void of the pressures of accumulating massive sales that hang over EA. For them it’s a clear path, a path which includes making a game the fans want to see post PES 2011.
Recently I posted on the boards how amazed I was how much feedback was already implemented into PES 2012. Elements that caused most frustrations had been either improved or completely redone, with further focus on getting everything that the fans wanted into the game. And that’s what I feel PES 2012 will become. PES 2011 had some good moments, and some fantastic elements that rang true to any real life football fan. Rather than trying to re-write history, they’ve decided to take stock of the situation, and build on the game that brought them back so many fans – critically and sales wise.
If there might be some of you out there reading this now expecting PES 2012 to be a ‘fixed’ PES 2011, then perhaps I’ve done my job of tempering excitement. At the same time if you do truly think that, then once the game has been announced you’ll be pleasantly surprised. While the focus of the game is to act on feedback the fanbase has been excellent in providing, the team have had ample time to add a whole host of elements fresh and new that will blow your mind.
And I’ll leave it there, as I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprises ahead, or been accused of building hype. After all, does a great game need any hype to precede it? I’ll let you decide.
Watch out for our podcast Tuesday evening for more, with some further insight on what could be a massive shake up for PES and it’s future. That change? PES Director Shinji Enomoto being promoted to Vice President of Konami. Massive implications, all incredibly positive.
See you then.