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Interviews

PES 2011

Konami's Jon Murphy gives us the low-down on the new soccer sequel...

Page 4 of 5

The camera angles this year should be a bit more TV-like. The crowds are a bit more 3D. The sound guys have been working hard on chants and how the crowd react. And the commentary team has changed - one of the commentary team has changed.

Who is it?
Lawro's gone. Jim Beglin is in. We're keeping Jon Champion. Lawrenson's delivery was a little forced at times. But that was partly him not living it in the studio and partly the way our scripts were written. Neither helped the other.

With Jon Champion we've always had someone who's better at ad-libbing. We've not only changed one member of the commentary team - which I hope people will be really pleased about - but we've gone for a much more live effect with the sound generally.

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We've changed the scripts, the studios we use etc. So we have done a certain amount. I think we've done enough to improve the atmosphere. In addition, the menu screens are a lot less 'Japanese-y', a lot less clunky than they have been in the past.

Also, at the end of the day, how are you going to play PES most of the time? It's against mates and the biggest thing you'll hear will be you ripping the piss out of your friend because you've just scored a goal against him.

Pro Evo still gets a very good critical reception - any other game would surely be happy with it. But it's held up against FIFA...
I'm not sure it's that, though. I think it's held up against itself a lot of the time. The PES community has always been the most vocal, the most outspoken, the best considered, the most fervent - really it's hard to think of another game where people are so involved with the product.

We've always had fans that are critical - and quite rightly. Some of those fans have since moved and they've taken that critical nature with them - and that's been thrown back on us as well. Most of the time, I think it's people looking back on their own memories of PES, and believing that it's not lived up to what they wanted. Some people have found what they're missing in FIFA.

PES has been in the top end of the 80%'s of late with reviews. Could this pull you back into that 90%-plus sphere?
The only thing that depends on is journalists. I worry that when people hold up Metacritic scores, as people are at the moment. Unless you've got a certain size of marketing budget to chuck behind a product, then you might well suffer in terms of your review scores these days - I really worry about that.

I'm hoping that people see outside of those benefits and actually judge us for what we're worth, and then I'm confident that, yes, you will see us back in the 90's.

FIFA still doesn't seem to have anything to quite compare to Master League, of course...
You can still lose your life to Master League.

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Is it unique to PES - and why can't others touch it?
I think it absolutely is. Because part of Master League is your memories and what you make of the game yourself. That's something that someone else coming along and trying to manufacture one area of the game we have that they don't... they're never going to get it.

You cannot copy the feelings you've had over the last ten-odd years of memories of Master League - going all the way back to buying players and trying work out what there real names were.

You can't get rid of memories like that. They're embedded in the subconscious where I think it's almost impossible to replicate it.

Another company could come along and give a really satisfying managerial experience, but I think Master League is untouchable in that sense. The team has continued to improve it in interesting ways. And it's also got a certain amount of Japanese charm to it as well.

It isn't a Champ Manager or Football Manager game. Sometimes it doesn't quite make 100 per cent sense - but it still grips you like nothing else.

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