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Konami: why PES is like a fighting game

Creator talks footie franchise's history.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The similarities might not be immediately obvious, but one of the key figures behind the long-running Pro Evolution Soccer franchise insists the core gameplay concept is essentially the same as in a fighting game.

This was just one of the nuggets offered up by series creator Shinji Enomoto in a fascinating, albeit lengthy, discussion with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata published on Nintendo's official site.

Discussing the key elements that define the series, Enomoto told Iwata, "According to the producer of PES, Shingo Takatsuka, 'The offense and defence in football games are like those in fighting games.'

"He says, 'In short, the difference is that you steal the ball from each other instead of trading punches.'"

"That's really interesting," Iwata replied. "I've never associated football games with fighting games, but if you look at football as a combat sport, reading the other side's offense and defence really is the same as it would be in a fighting game. 'If my opponent comes at me this way, I'll kick it that way', that sort of thing..."

"It's true that offense and defence are integrated in both football and combat. Things that can cause great damage to your opponent also tend to create holes in your defence. For that reason, how you read each other and what tactics you use becomes key."

Elsewhere in the interview, Enomoto also explained how PES was the first footie sim to detach the ball from the player's foot while dribbling.

"In previous football games, structurally, the ball and the athlete stuck together." he explained. "In other words, when the ball came near the athlete, it would naturally be drawn to the athlete's feet. Our objective, then, was how to separate the athlete and the ball."

Enomoto went on to admit that despite Konami's best efforts to make the series as realistic as possible, it still has a very long way to go.

"Even though we've been doing this for 10 years, I don't feel as though we're even close to capturing real football."

The next iteration of the series, which started way back in 2001 on the PSone, is Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, out on 25th March for Nintendo 3DS.

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