Konami has told CVG that D-pad control will be supported in PES 2012 - despite the company's desire to ditch it.
The code the firm showed at E3 earlier this month only allowed for control via the analogue sticks. The news apparently left a handful of vocal fans disgruntled - particularly those that rely on the pad to execute sharp turns during tournament gameplay.
As a result of the feedback, Konami - as community-centric as ever - has now elected to keep the feature in the game. However, it has warned fans that the option won't be in the series forever.
"We've decided not to take out D-Pad this year, because a some fans have told us that they still use it - particularly those ultra-competitive ones who rely on it to quickly change direction," PES Team Leader Jon Murphy told CVG. "The game will default to the twin sticks, but the option will be there to play with a D-Pad.
"Eventually, it will have to come out, so we're encouraging people to move over to the analogue stick. We made a lot of progress last year in a lot of areas, which included freedom of movement. That's a little bit wasted if you use the D-pad, so we don't expect the option will be there in the next couple of years."
CVG caught a behind-the-scenes glimpse at PES's new feature yesterday, and walked away very impressed indeed. Seabass and co's focus this time round has obviously been on pure gameplay, rather than atmospheric 'trinkets'.
Major alterations include a new smart AI, which not only sees CPU-controlled players making much earlier runs, but ensures that defensive players provide more intelligent cover. One of the cleverest new touches relates to set pieces, free kicks and throw ins: players can now use a flick of the right stick to select the recipient of the ball, then manually make a darting run and call for delivery.
The accuracy of goal kicks have also been dramatically improved (hurrah!), whilst the perpetual problem of odd gaps appearing between defence and midfield (and, therefore, the opponent running for yards and yards unchallenged) appears to have been fixed.
"I really do believe that the offering we've got this year will pull some fans back from the competition," said Murphy. "Perhaps we'll see another year when people buy both games, but after six months, we want to make sure they trade-in only one of them - and it's not ours.
"[FIFA] has the atmosphere, the crowds and certain licences we don't - and everybody knows they've got better commentary than us. I can't see that changing. And some of the stuff they're doing with the collisions looks great, depending how it works as you actually play.
"But if you want pure gameplay, I think we'll smash them this year. We've got so many things going for us, but just the lightness of touch and the way the players move independently is fantastic. You notice it instantly.
"You can put the pad down and see your team's movement as individuals. I really hope we can get the demo out to people as soon as possible, because it's all very well me talking about these things - it's when you play it that you see instantly.
"We don't want everyone, it's not about that - we want the front runners, the opinion formers, the players who tell their friends "you've got to check out PES this year". We want to bring them back, and I think we can."