It probably comes up because EA completely scrapped FIFA's engine...
They needed to. I'm sure if you ask them they'll be honest about it and say it wasn't up to scratch. If we get to the point where we really do need to make wholesale changes then we will. But I don't think that we have the issues that they had. It's very easy to forget that for ten years or whatever it was, they clearly had an inferior product.
Everyone's saying now: 'What's happened to PES? Have we thrown in the towel? It's all FIFA...' But it's only the last couple of versions that's been the case - that's easy to forget.
You don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I understand people's points and to a certain extent I agree that FIFA has become a completely different game and they've done great things. But it does get annoying after a while hearing it when you think: 'Come on. For ten years before this, journalists just complained what a rip-off it was.'
How quickly they've forgotten that and how quickly they want to believe PES is over. It's not.
Going back to the PS2 thing, while people want the game [on that format], it will be supported. Whereas in the UK, it's becoming less and less important, in places like Italy it's still very important.
In a way, PES's heartland is in Italy. It's massively popular - much more so than FIFA. And the same's true in Spain. While those countries require a PS2 version, we'll continue to make it.
Let's get the FIFA question out the way. Can PES 2011 be the game that recaptures your dominance of the market - either in terms of sale or critical acclaim?
What we want to stop is hardcore level of our fanbase moving, if I'm totally honest - which worryingly has started to happen. For years, we sat on our laurels and assumed it never would happen. That's our strategy, plain and simple.
What we now have is a benchmark from EA that we've got to beat, which is fine. It gives us a challenge. But that's not our ultimate aim. Our goal is not only to ensure we don't lose any more fans, but that we win back the hardcore fans. The rest of it - we'll see what happens.
Traditionally, PES and FIFA have different reactions in different territories. We see a strong rivalry in the UK, obviously. In France, we see it's very heavily dominated by PES - same in Spain, same in Italy. Germany, for example, has always been FIFA. It depends from territory to territory so you can't just look at the sales. It's a healthy rivalry.
PES needed a shake-up and that's been brought about because FIFA has turned up and done its stuff. I hope we do get back to [No.1] because if PES ever did disappear and you saw one game on the market I think you'd go back to seeing a very, very lazy game of football that everyone would be sick of. Without competition from either side, I think you'd have a problem in this market.
The one thing FIFA has really had over PES in the last few years is atmosphere. Sometimes PES's stadiums feel a bit empty - it lacks a bit of ambience. What's your view on that?
I totally agree. It's difficult for us because we have so many requests to do different things and we got tugged in so many directions.
And what we've got to work out is what is core; what needs to be done to push the product on. This year it was rebuilding the animations, sorting the reactions, dropping back the AI and - my personal champion - the Master League Online. It's definitely our biggest unique selling point.
There are obviously other areas we need to look at, such as the atmosphere; the stadiums. It's not even that - it's using the right camera angles, confetti, stadium announcers, bright lights.
People in Europe are very used to consuming football in a certain way - through Sky, through satellite, the BBC or whatever. When their video game doesn't conform to those rules it jars. So it is important and we are trying to do something about it.