Winning Eleven 9 details
Online play now standard.
In an announcement that has about as much capacity to surprise as the revelation that there will be a Christmas Day this year, Konami has revealed that Winning Eleven 9 will be released in Japan on August 4th.
More interesting, given that Winning Eleven 9 will inevitably become the foundation blocks for Pro Evolution Soccer 5, which is anticipated in Europe this October on PS2, Xbox and PC, is news of some of the new features and refinements.
Online play is now standard after it did well for Konami in the PS2's "Live Ware Evolution" this January, with a few refinements. Obviously online support was in the European Xbox version of Pro Evolution Soccer 4 and to a certain extent the PC version (although its peer-to-peer implementation was lazy to say the least), but Konami only releases the series on PS2 in Japan, so its inclusion there is good news for PS2 owners here.
We can also expect to see the introduction of wingbacks and, in what surely amounts to a mistranslation, "second tops". Second strikers perhaps? The Peter Crouch position?
Konami's also reportedly said that basic player animation has been recaptured for this instalment, and that small details like player breath visibly hanging in the cold air will help give the game more depth. Yes, but will it have a widescreen mode this time?
Elsewhere, the Master League apparently offers more precise control over player growth, while Japanese fans can also look forward to a mode based on the Japanese national team's attempts to qualify for World Cup 2006.
We'll bring you our thoughts on Winning Eleven 9 when it's out in Japan. We would have done the same on Live Ware Evolution, but yours truly was short of cash that month and Konami went a bit quiet when we asked about a copy.