Is Seabass' new game a clue to the future of PES online?

Published at 4:38 pm, Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Author: Mike Harvey |

With the world seemingly ruled by online games nowadays, according to my Facebook news feed anyway, Konami have jumped on the bandwagon with the recent release of PES Association Football.

If you haven't played it yet, PES Association Football gives football fans the opportunity to test their managerial skills in a virtual world made up of players who feature in PES 2013. The idea is simple; to, over time, slowly improve your squad and fight your way to the top by acquiring new players, formations and other vital resources.

Like most Facebook games, the more you play, the more you get back in return - coins, energy and scouting tickets are all integral factors to consider if you want your team to grow. I've been playing regularly over the last week or so, and despite picking up a quite shocking win-loss rate, I've found it genuinely addictive and would be happy to recommend it to any other game-loving football fan.

You can try out PES Association Football by clicking here.

Last May, Konami confirmed former Producer of the PES series, Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka was working on another "PES-related game". With that particular mystery now solved, would it be mad to think that one purpose of Seabass' new project may be to trial possible features for a future online game mode?

As someone who's hoping the series' new engine will give online play a complete overhaul, in terms of modes, options and presentation at least, I was delighted to see the inclusion of player packs. A simple, yet incredibly effective feature which forces - or at least encourages - variety in online squads.

This is something I've been wishing for ever since I, desperately, decided to pick up a network adaptor for my PS2 so I could play online PES 6. But even back then, as a 14-year-old, totally new to online gaming, I knew something wasn't quite right.

Almost 7 years later, and some will say 'King Adriano' might as well still be here. Although the issues of this year's MLO probably aren't quite as bad as the over-powered left foot of the PES 6 cover star, it's clear that similar issues still remain.

Morale victories aside, I don't think there's any motivation to play with a 'lesser' team when going online - and that's a huge shame. Master League Online could be an unbelievable game mode, however, its potential is pinned down as there are too many elite teams: so many squads consisting of Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and the infamous van der Mirch.

The current system needs major changes, I don't think anyone can deny that. Even European Community Leader, Adam Bhatti, recently admitted the PES Team need to make sure fans "have a satisfying experience when playing online, and we’re dedicated to making that happen", suggesting this hasn't been the case in recent years.

As seen on PES Association Football, the introduction of player packs (seen below) is certainly a logical option. Like I mentioned on Twitter last week, I personally think that, when building your squad, lucky dips is a much better option than just letting users pick-and-choose whoever they want from an endless list of players.

Just look at the 14-year-old kids with PVRs who upload their reactions onto Youtube after getting a "beast" player after opening a pack. There's a real (sometimes scary) buzz that's really good to see - although admittedly a little disturbing at times.

As for charging real-life money for packs, I don't think that's anything to worry about. Especially with Konami, a company who - for the PES series at least - have a history of not charging for any downloadable content.

European PES Team Leader, Jon Murphy, has always come across as someone who is very proud that PES DLC has always been free. You'd assume a few others could learn a thing or two!

Whether it turns out Konami are giving this new system a trial, or I'm just making something out of nothing, I'll be delighted to see the 'player packs' (or something similar) feature make it onto the console/PC version once PES 2014 is released later this year.

Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below. This is my first editorial in months so try to be nice!

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