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PES 2022 renamed eFootball and going free-to-play

eFootball
(Image credit: Konami)

A brand new free-to-play sports game eFootball has been revealed by Konami. 

The Japanese publisher has confirmed the release of a new free-to-play sports game, eFootball, for release on PC and five different consoles this autumn – bringing the Pro Evolution Soccer series to a close after 26 years.

You can see the reveal trailer for the new game below.

In addition to featuring Leo Messi in a custom kit, the video teaser showcases in-game footage featuring Manchester United, Juventus, and FC Bayern, and interviews with Messi and official advisor Andres Iniesta. The trailer reveals that Iniesta was mo-capped for the game, in the hope of improving one-to-one battles on the pitch. Former team-mate Gerard Pique is also on board to advise on defensive play.

“We have created a one-on-one system that is incredibly thrilling and, most importantly, realistic,” says Konami. “We went beyond the realm of PES, into a new world of virtual soccer. To signal this new era, we have decided to part ways with our beloved PES brand and rename it eFootball.”

eFootball

(Image credit: Konami)

The new game is described as “a new global brand for a global audience”, and is built on the Unreal Engine and headed to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and PC. Fascinatingly, Konami is promising cross-platform matchmaking sometime after launch.

At least nine clubs – including those mentioned above plus Barcelona and Arsenal – are confirmed to appear at launch, with online leagues and a new team-building mode (replacing Master League) coming around the same time. Winter will then see the addition of official eSports tournaments, and mobile controller support. 

There are no further details on additional clubs or specific leagues, nor the manner in which they'll be incorporated – but we know that Napoli are exclusive to eFootball from next year, alongside Serie A rivals Juventus and Roma.

The announcement confirms a rumour GR reported on a couple of weeks back, in which journalist Andy Robinson predicted that changes were afoot. “Konami is flickering to life,” he said. “There’s going to be new stuff with PES this year, I hear, where they’re going to go properly free-to-play and really change it up. You’re starting to see stuff with the tech demo that they put into PS5.”

More intrigued in how Konami's longstanding rival is shaping up? Then jump on over to our comprehensive FIFA 22 preview.

Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar+'s sports editor, obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB – and very occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym. Namely: Bill Bryson, Pitch Perfect, and the Streets Of Rage series. I have two kids who aren't quite old enough to play Madden yet. Soon, though…