PES 2012 and the Xbox own goal

September 13, 2011, Author: Phil Ubee

A few weeks ago we got the first big news of the big gameplay innovations for the pending releases of this years two major football franchises, FIFA 12 and PES 2012. I stated on these very pages how excited I was by the teammate control idea in PES 2012 and subsequently was looking forward to getting some hands on time to see just how this would work on the field of play.

Imagine my excitement when shortly after publishing that article, we heard that Konami had decided to release not one, but two demos of their franchise with demo number one due to be released as early as August 24th. The news was that this would be early code, but would give us, the fans, a chance to see just how the new features, including teammate control, would work in practice. How excited was I? Read on to find out.

I was, in fact, so excited that I started to count down the days, literally, to that big day in late August when I would get to see, first hand, what could prove to be one of the biggest gameplay innovations of this generation. Come the morning of the 24th, I turned in for my day job, loaded up the Xbox website, Twitter and our very own TIMJ forums to follow and post throughout the day as my anticipation reached feverpitch.

As mid-morning came and went, (the usual time for Xbox demo releases) news started to hit Twitter of the PC demo being available and the PS3 version being available later in the day with the next PSN update, yet nothing could be seen or heard of the Xbox 360 version. So I decided to check the marketplace and with no details available, tweeted to @konami and @konamiuk to see if there was a suspected time for the demo’s release. No response. As the day wore on a rumour started to emerge that the Xbox version was actually facing a delay, so I decided to risk the wrath of my boss and look at the websites of both Konami Global and Konami Europe to see what I could find out. Again, Nothing!

He just heard the Xbox demo has been delayed!

By this time, lunch had passed and there I was, waiting to queue up what would undoubtedly be a fairly big download so I could kick it off as soon as I got home, ready for some pre-bedtime play. Okay, I thought, Twitter knows everything, so off I went checking the feeds only to find there was still nothing official yet.

However, by about 3pm it was clear something was afoot as various people had tweeted that a delay was on the cards and links were starting to appear to various gaming sites that had a brief post stating that the PES 2012 demo had indeed been delayed on Xbox 360 due to unforseen issues, until September.

I have subsequently spent the past week and a half regularly checking both Konami websites and Twitter feeds for any details regarding the reasons for this delay and the exact date we Xbox owners might get to play the first demo. Rather surprisingly, as yet, I have seen nothing directly from Konami at all. We have now heard that a PES Demo is scheduled for September 14th, a day after the FIFA 2012 demo is due and well and truly in the “Mid-September” window we had for the second demo anyway. This begs the question: Will Xbox owners ever see this first demo or will we get that as the only demo?

Nearly time to see the teammate control in action...

As PC and PS3 gamers have spent the past ten days getting to grips with the new features of Konami’s title contender, Xbox owners have been left wondering if the publisher has perhaps forgotten them all together. As someone who has, until recent years, been a huge PES fanboy, I am more than a bit disappointed. What is more, this is not the first time in the current generation that owners of Microsoft’s console have been left feeling as though PES chief Shingo “Seabass” Takatsuka thinks of us as the poor relation, as many features were removed from PES 6 on the Xbox 360 back in 2006.

In fact, this generation of consoles has been something of a write-off for the PES series all together, with online issues hampering the early releases on both Xbox 360 and PS3, something that it took three years to rectify. Add the fact that while its biggest rival, FIFA, has introduced first five, then ten, and now eleven per side online, allowed you to jostle for the ball and made video game football more fluid than even the mighty PES in its prime, the overall play in PES has barely progressed. When you consider that the biggest “innovation” has been the ability to dive, you realise why FIFA is now so far ahead.

Hit the dive button!

In the grand scheme of things, a bonus demo based on early code, missing from just one format, is a minor issue that shouldn’t have any effect on the success or failure of the final game. However, in terms of PR it is a huge own goal for the PES franchise and comes at a time when the series was just starting to win back some of those lost fans.

It seems I will now have to wait until September 14th to see how the game is shaping up, when the first/second/only demo hits Xbox 360. In the meantime I guess like all Xbox 360 PES fans, I will have to read posts from PS3 or PC gamers with a mix of resentment and jealousy.