The Pro Evolution Soccer brand has been around for a very long time. It was Konami’s answer to Electronic Arts’ officially licensed FIFA franchise and put up some competition on the pitch for a quite a few years. The brand took an interesting move in adding ‘eFootball’ to the title in 2020, but in 2021, it looks like Konami is retiring the Pro Evolution Soccer name altogether. The developer has announced eFootball, a free-to-play soccer simulation coming to consoles and PC this Fall, and mobile devices after.
Konami announced the new eFootball in a press release alongside a reveal trailer on the game’s new YouTube channel on July 21, 2021. According to the announcement, eFootball is new chapter for Konami on the pitch, seemingly ridding itself of yearly installments of PES to focus on a single, free-to-play, games-as-a-service soccer title. eFootball will launch this coming Fall 2021 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC via the Windows Store and Steam. Mobile versions will come to Android and iOS after that.
eFootball was apparently rebuilt from the ground up in Unreal Engine by the PES team and will be an ever-evolving experience. Konami even provided a road map for what will be coming after the game launches. It will eventually feature crossplay between PC, Xbox, and Playstation platforms, as well as cross-generation play between Xbox One and Series X/S and PS4 and PS5. At some point, there will also be online leagues and esports tournament rolled out to nurture competition in the game.
It’s a little strange and somber to see Konami outright drop the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise after eFootball PES 2020. This was also likely the game it teased when it offered a recent open beta test to players. That said, an evolving games-as-a-service sports game doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Many have wanted franchises like Madden, FIFA, and NBA2K to do something similar for years, so it will be interesting to see how this new model plays out for Konami and eFootball. Stay tuned as we await further details on the game (such as a release date) leading up to its Fall launch.