PES Has Been Renamed eFootball, and It’s Fully Free-to-Play | IGN

Konami has officially renamed the Pro Evolution Soccer series eFootball, and it will become a digital-only, free-to-play game coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC this Autumn – with iOS and Android versions to follow (Konami refused to comment on any potential Nintendo Switch version). By this winter, all versions of the game will feature cross-play, although mobile players will need to use controllers to play against console and PC players.

It’s a major move for the football series (now called eFootball globally, rather than PES in the west and Winning Eleven in Japan), and it’s been matched with a shift from Konami’s FOX Engine to a custom-built new engine created with Unreal 4. Crucially, it appears that all versions of the game, from new-gen consoles to mobile, will be functionally the same (not unlike Fortnite) – presumably meaning that the hugely successful PES Mobile will also be phased out or replaced.

Speaking to IGN, series producer Seitaro Kimura explained that eFootball is aiming to take a ‘platform’ approach with regular updates – there will no longer be annual paid releases of eFootball, but the platform will get free, yearly updates for new seasons.

eFootball will launch with exhibition matches and seemingly a selection of 9 clubs to play with (see the roadmap below for the full list). It will subsequently sell other modes as optional DLC, seemingly allowing players to pay for what they want out of their game. No mention has yet been made of MyClub, PES’ equivalent to FIFA Ultimate Team, or Master League, the series’ long-running career mode – although it seems likely that the former will be represented by an unnamed ‘Team Building Mode’ coming after release.

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We’re still somewhat unclear on how new teams will be added to the game, and the exact breakdown of how eFootball’s modes and monetisation will work won’t be revealed until a later date. However, Konami says that the game is designed to be “fair and balanced” for all players, despite its transition to a free-to-play model – which will also seemingly include Battle Pass-like unlocks called Match Passes.

While a lot of eFootball’s approach is a shift from PES, IGN can confirm two returning elements: Peter Drury and Jim Beglin will continue as English-language commentators, and the much-loved Option Files (which allow players to customise much of the game, including unlicensed teams, and share those files) will be available – although support will be added post-launch, and we’re still unclear on how they’ll be implemented, or whether they’ll come to Xbox platforms for the first time.

eFootball will launch as a slimmed-down experience, with more modes, teams, platforms, and cross-play options added as the year goes on. Konami’s current roadmap is below:

roadmap-1-1626851317090 PES Has Been Renamed eFootball, and It's Fully Free-to-Play | IGN

The move to a new engine has also allowed eFootball to add a new Motion Matching animation system, which Konami says allows for four times as many animations as previous PES games. It doesn’t sound unlike FIFA’s newly-announced HyperMotion animation system, but Konami points out that Motion Matching will be applied to all versions of the game, even on mobile.

Konami says it will announce more about eFootball’s gameplay and online modes in late August (which would put it around the time of Gamescom 2021). If you’re desperate to learn more now, you’re in luck – we have a breakdown of the news with the series producer, and a deep-dive into how switching to Unreal Engine helped pave the way for its transformation from PES into eFootball.

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Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

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