The next version of top-of-the-table football game Pro Evolution Soccer will come equipped with online PS2 functionality, according to the game's creator Seabass Takatsuka.
The news will come as sweet relief to PS2 fans dismayed at the lack of online play in Pro Evo 4, which launched last Friday. The game is set to debut on Xbox next month with full online play over Xbox Live.
Speaking to Konami's official UK website, Seabass said, "We already have PES running on PS2 online in the studio, but with the infrastructure as it is we would have had to create our own servers and that kind of thing. That's why we passed on online PS2 play in PES 4."
"We're waiting for Sony to construct a better online infrastructure for PlayStation and also for more users to be hooked up to broadband," Seabass continues, "but I'm pretty sure we're going to have online on PES 5 for the PS2."
Seabass also talks of his worries that they cannot squeeze any more out of the current generation of consoles. "There are loads more player motions and AI ideas we'd like to include, but we feel we've reached the limit of the current hardware. You might have noticed some slowdown - that's because we're crunching so much information."
But planning has already begun on the next iteration of the series. "We already have lots of ideas," says Seabass, "and we're starting to work on it already."
Pro Evo 5 will likely be the final version of the game to appear on the current generation of consoles, and Seabass is excited by the extra power offered by the next-gen machines. "We have loads of motion capture data that we want to implement which will totally open up the gameplay because we'll get more variations of dribbling or passing. And AI - we're holding back ideas that we really want to implement to make attacking smarter or defending stronger."
And while Seabass has "no concrete specs" for the forthcoming PSP version of Pro Evo, he's excited by the handheld's capabilities. "It's portable so you can have it anywhere at any time, and you can connect it via LAN, so that really inspired us."
Discussing connectivity between PSP and PS2, Seabass points out "since it's portable you could take it wherever you like and configure your Master League team then, when you go back to your house, you can play the game again."
And the Pro Evo master's top tips for conquering the game? Play with the D-pad and buy Recoba for your Master League team. Easy when you know how, eh?
You can read the whole interview here.