Konami’s announcement this Wednesday afternoon went off like a bomb. Twenty years after the release of the very first Pro Evolution Soccer, the Japanese video game studio has decided to abandon a flagship football franchise on game consoles in favor of a new opus, eFootball. Twenty years of which we will especially remember the first ones, those in which PES was the quintessential soccer simulation game, and one that fans now hold onto to their memories of yesteryear.
Nostalgia has this tendency, sometimes unfortunate, but very often appreciable, to embellish the memories that emerge when we recall certain passages of the past. A certain distortion of reality which translates the good times lived by sometimes making them more beautiful than they were, and a reflection which makes sense for any fan of video games. Everyone remains marked in their own way by a game for various reasons – whether it is their first game, their first crush, the unfolding of the scenario or the proposed gameplay – and it does not matter if their favorite opus has aged or no, because the beauty of a game does not lie in its graphics or its superficial novelties, but in its ability to reach the player emotionally. And more than fifteen years after its most prosperous period, Pro Evolution Soccer is still the football simulation game that will have marked several generations, from young football fans in elementary school who were discovering game consoles to adults who lived through it. the rise of video games, in particular thanks to an approach to virtual football which touched the hearts of both new and experienced players.
The charm of the old
Obviously, for anyone who has never played PES and who suddenly decides to take an interest in the first opus in 2021, difficult to understand why such nostalgia gripped many people when the death of the game was officially pronounced. The latter had few licenses and had to wait PES 4 to have multiple championships – previously only the best teams from each championship were represented, as well as the main national selections – the names of players, clubs and stadiums were mostly not the real ones on the first editions, and the game seemed rather simple visually. And yet it is this simplicity that has made the charm and the success of PES. By offering the possibility of modifying everything so that the gaming experience is as close as possible to reality, whether it is the crests of the clubs, the jerseys, the players (including their rating), Konami offered a personalization total of its game so that it is to the taste of each user, even going so far as to offer totally crazy options (penguin, dinosaur and ostrich outfits or even dog heads instead of those of the players).
We can obviously add to this the Masters League and its iconic fictitious players from PES 2 : Ivarov, Stremer, Valeny, Espimas, Ximenez, Minanda, Castolo, etc. Or – non-exhaustive list – the possibility of creating a team from A to Z (and therefore the unique opportunity to put at the time the eleven of his district club or to have fun by simply adding his band of friends addicted to the game), the tactical and technical realism needed at the time to build an action and score a goal, or the different training modes available to improve and the epic intros between the first and the fifth opus. .. In short, you had an almost perfect copy for a football simulation.
It’s only a good bye
However, this game which will have reigned for several years, even allowing itself to compete with or even surpass the ogre FIFA during its best years (respectively 5.76 and 6.53 million sales for PES 5 and PES 6, against 5.27 and 6.38 million for FIFA 06 and FIFA 07 according to VGChartz figures), will have experienced a decline when it comes to new generation consoles (PS3 and Xbox 360). The gap between PES and FIFA will not stop growing year after year, Konami getting lost in its offer, while the flagship game of EA Sports has proved more solid each year. And the regain of form of the last two or three opus will not have been enough to make it survive Pro Evolution Soccer when it comes to the all-new generation of consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X), released at the end of 2020.
PES is dead, in favor of a new football game more suited to the next gen whose basic free offer will be used to convince players to buy the rain of additional paid content that will result. All you have to do then is take out the old Playstation 2s stored in the attic, on which a layer of dust has settled over the years, insert your memory card and CD again, press the button. power and leave it jingle of the PS2 resonate before enjoying as in the good old days a Milan-Inter gala on PES 5, or a Manchester United-Arsenal on PES 6, in order to go back in time and remember that yes, Pro Evolution Soccer will have offered for several years the most beautiful football simulation.
Reread our series of fictional portraits:
==> Valeny, the normal president
==> Castolo, silence is not an oversight
==> Minanda, the heart of man
==> The real life of Roberto Larcos
By Fabien Gelinat, nostalgic