PES 2017 Preview

Time to get Messi.

Look at us, it’s 2016 and we’re already in August. Feels like two drunken nights ago we were all raising our glasses in the air, giving toast to some random person at the bar, and making ridiculous New Year’s resolutions we knew we wouldn’t be keeping. Fast forward past the hangover and here we are, still not eating right and definitely not drinking less. And Konami is still making games!

Besides the thought of our lives flashing in front of our eyes, like I mentioned, it is August, which means we are standing on the precipice, the grand cusp of all things sports. With most of all the major professional league’s champions already been crowned, this year’s Olympics shall play as the grand finale (sans MLB fans).

Serving as a worldly sports glue sort of speak, futbol, or soccer for those crazy U.S. and Canadian fans, has had its fair share of exciting times over these last few weeks or so, with continuing action in Rio. So now this is the perfect time for Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer to make the announcement they have just secured an exclusive partnership with FC Barcelona and their “Legendary” Camp Nou Stadium.

Over the year’s Konami has spent its energy and countless hours attempting to make a once proud, glorious, and deserving franchise relevant again. Not to say these guys weren’t always amazing; they just find themselves in a constant battle against FIFA. One of the obstacles that has been standing in their way, and possibly the most important, has been licensing. As we all know, legally you can not use names, designs, and other important information from trademarked businesses or individuals.

In past years, PES has been fortunate enough to secure quite a list of licensing agreements with pro clubs from around the world. But with the addition of Barcelona, this has been the biggest partnership to date, giving Konami a free range at player likeness, authentic celebrations, custom kits, theme songs, the works. Now we get to see Messi’s platinum blonde hair, digitally.

With the announcement of FC Barcelona, it may feel as though all of the game's other features feel like they are being overshadowed a bit, but they're still interesting. I had a chance to quickly play a beta build of PES 2017 with brand manager Andre Bronzoni, and he was able to show me a handful of expected features, namely “MyClub’ and gameplay. For those familiar to MyClub, it still has the core fundamentals of building a squad of players from around the globe and pitting them up against other clubs, on your quest to being one of the top teams from around the world. Using a reward system, returning players as well as new users will be giving reoccurring earnings used for squad improvements.

As for gameplay, there is still some fine-tuning to be done, but Bronzoni illustrated how authentic and realistic they wanted movement and mechanics to be, beyond just individual players. They want to dig deeper with interactions between players as well as between them and their environment. If it’s raining, the ball and footing won’t be as controlled. Or if teams are playing on shorter grass, the ball will move faster than it would on longer grass.

Interactions between players on the field will bring out the differences in their heights, weights, strengths, and skill sets. Say a bigger stronger defender is attempting to position himself against a smaller faster attacker; the offensive player might have a tough time just using his mass to shed his opponent. But as the quicker of the two, he may be able to use his speed and agility to maneuver instead.

Other in-depth details are being held behind lock and key, but so far PES 2017 seems to have a ton of tricks up the sleeve; can’t forget the addition of past legends to the mix. There’s said to be over 20 classic greats we can look forward to seeing.

PES 2017 is set to release on September 13, 2016 for PS4, PS3, XOne, X360, and PC.