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PES 2012: PSM3's verdict on what Konami are doing well - and not so well

First screens, seven minute video, plus 'team work' focus outlined

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2) Focusing on Seabass

The role of the auteur, the individual with vision, has been largely eroded in games, replaced by teams of 200 acting on decisions forged by compromise and focus groups. At core, we prefer the 'one vision' approach, as typified by Hideo Kojima. However, this has a flip side, but we'll get to that. Seabass used to be the cuddly human symbol of all that's right about the best football game in the world, and all that's wrong with the corporate FIFA - but that was 4/5 years ago.

3) Not promising the moon

Underpromise, underdeliver. It's the vintage customer service mantra. The biggest thing to take from today's PES 2012 announcement is... nothing too grand: simply an evolved, more team-focused, game of football. If the finished game turns out to be far in advance of claims, it's a big psychological win. If. We're still waiting on promised PES 2012 new game modes and edit functions, but these will need to be huge in order to grab the attention of the FIFA fanbase.

What are Konami doing less well?

1) Focusing on gameplay

We're being slightly facetious, but unless you've got something really remarkable to trumpet, bar sensible iteration, perhaps the best thing to do is to tackle FIFA 12 from a different angle - not 'we're as good, or better, a simulation as you', but 'our unique modes drop a large sh*t on anything you can offer'. PES have the unique Champions League licence - the world's most exciting football competitiion - but their inability to leverage it more succesfully needs to be noted. At core, CL mode in PES is like any cup competition, but with a new intro movie, *that* anthem, plus some nice colour menus. What we really need is a super authentic, atmosphere-rich, in-depth celebration of the CL, that really tracks your tournament progress. Have pre-match press conferences with multiple choice answers that affect player's morale, or even the tactics of your opposition if they're lulled into thinking, say, you'll play 4-4-2 away and go on the offensive, when you'll really play 4-5-1 and play on the counter. We want commentators that say 'Drogba got a brace in the last group game against Juvenus, can he maintain this form and push Chelsea into the last 16 in this momentous game?'. We want animated off-pitch scuffles, manager histrionics (can they licence Mourinho? We'd all love that), explicit stat tracking twinned to commentary/cut scenes, extensive post match highlights and analysis - you know, like the real thing. Ditto Master League. No more Ronaldo costs £15m and is going to Sunderland nonsense. Total reality. As far as is sane.

2) Focusing on Seabass

Seabass, however much we love him, can verge on a symbol of faded glories - easily lampooned by FIFA die hards. His passion is unarguable, but maybe the game needs a totally fresh brush? Keep Seabass on board, but bring in a new figurehead? It's pure symbolism of course, but this is the age we live in. FIFA has David Rutter, but Gary Patterson is also a key figure - and the game focuses more on its features, all clearly branded and sold, than its backroom personalities.

3) Not articulating points of change clearly enough

The super obvious thing: it looks almost the same as PES 2011, based on this early glimpse at least. After a year of PES players saying the animation was the thing that Konami had to change above anything else, this instantly puts PES on the back foot, certainly in FIFA comparisons which still looks the 'smoother' game - hence the old 'is it really 360 dribbling debate?', that should be a non issue. We know it's hard to bin a game engine overnight and start again, especially since PES 2011 was the first step on a new path, but the fluidity of animation was picked up by everyone.

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