Codemasters has released a PC demo of Sensible Soccer 2006, which is due out on PS2, Xbox and PC from June 9th.
It might only take a second to score a goal, but it's taken eight ponderous years for Jon Hare and co to make a new Sensible Soccer game.
You might ask: Why now? What's the point?
EA and Konami have had the footy market so tightly sewn up for so long it's embarrassing. Cast your mind back over recent years and the list of casualties is staggering: Take-Two's infamous Champions League efforts, Infogrames' deluded Ronaldo V-Football, Sega's unholy trinity of Worldwide Soccer/UEFA Dream Soccer and Virtua Striker releases, Virgin's awful European Super League, Acclaim's brief and pointless attempt to revive the Kick Off brand, and Codemasters' own ill-fated Club Football efforts. Sony has come closest to breaking the FIFA-PES duopoly with This Is Football, but even that hasn't built on a promising start it enjoyed in the early days of the PS2 (World Tour Soccer's PSP bundle success aside). Throw in the frantic five-a-side titles like Sega Soccer Slam, Mario Smash Football and Midway's Red Card and it seems as if every major publisher has had a crack at footy at some time or other - with limited commercial success.
It's rubbish being an England football supporter. Not only do we have to put up with the Neanderthal supporters that shame the nation wherever they go, something special and inexplicable always seems to happen to the football team just when it seems they're on the cusp of greatness.
The revival of the much-loved Sensible Soccer series has caused considerable excitement amongst gamers of a certain age - and now you can see for yourselves how the 2006 version is coming along as Eurogamer TV exclusively premieres the first in-game footage.
Comebacks are almost always rubbish. Who can forget Paul Gascoigne's harrowing spiral into League 2 obscurity or the sight of a tormented, chubby Paul Merson waddling out onto the Tamworth turf the other week? It wasn't meant to end this way. They were great players who didn't know when to quit, and it's a painful thing to witness first hand.
Sensible Soccer will be with us this summer on PS2, Xbox and PC, says publisher Codemasters - a bit later than the Easter date we were given last November.
Never mind the next gen: Sensible Soccer is back!