It's not just Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka who controls Konami's PES franchise. At gamescom we sat down with PES project lead Jon Murphy for a chat about how PES will reclaim its title as the king of football video games, improved online play and why Spurs have kicked Liverpool out of the game.
Q: PES 2011 feels like PES, but the most changed PES since maybe PES 5. I think there's a chance this year's game will be something PES fans have been wanting for quite some time. It's quite exciting.
Jon Murphy: Absolutely. That's exactly what we think.
Q: Last year's game promised a lot of changes. Was that the first step to what we've got this year?
JM: Yes. Without question. We couldn't have done everything in one year, but I think last year was the team getting their heads sorted out again, getting themselves clear on how they wanted to move forward, what changes they wanted to make and to start doing that on that version. This is the one where it all starts fitting together properly.
Q: The new physicality of the players has really changed the way the game plays. PES fans are going to have to learn how to play.
JM: I hope so. I mean I think the additional tactics that you can sort out should help that as well. I think you can take on any team now and play in all kinds of different styles and decide what suits you best. It might not necessarily be Barcelona.
Q: Has the criticism of PES in recent years been hard for the PES team to take? There was a time not long ago when PES was the football game.
JM:: Yeah, very difficult.
Q: It was the pinnacle of football games.
JM: They were for many, many, many years as well. What people tend to forget is that EA has put together a couple of good titles and it's like PES has never existed. That's it, they're the winners, they've done it.
Q: It would be wrong for EA to write off PES.
JM: I hope they don't. To be honest from what I've heard I don't think they've done anywhere near as much as we have.
Q: It is difficult to see any big change from FIFA 10 to FIFA 11. With PES 11 it does feel like something new.
JM: From my understanding they've gone for refinement, which they're entitled to do when everyone has said they are the number one product. But I still think it's dangerous to do that when we... you know, we haven't been destroyed by them, much as I think they would like to destroy us. We're still a big factor in football games going forward and I think 2011 will be a big year in terms of quality. I'm not sure whether or not we'll swing opinions back totally our way, but I think it shows what we are willing to do year-on-year now to drive back to being the best football game. We will become the best football game.
Q: So the goal is to get back on top?
JM: We want to be the best football game, without question. A football game of quality. No matter what else we try and do. We have some great licenses and we spend as much money as possible on this, but as much as we try and do those sorts of things, we have to admit that when EA want to put money on the table for a license they can just kick us out entirely. It's what they do, and they've done it in other sports.