Pro Evolution Soccer is a genuine footballing legend, we've simply lost count of the lunchtime hours of joy, frustration and thrilling footballing moments that have been played out on the mighty PES series over the years.
Of course with Pro Evolution Soccer 6 now making the leap to Xbox 360, the mighty footballing franchise is moving onto the next generation and we hope, securing a whole new wave of fans for our favourite footy franchise. So it was with great pleasure we recently sat down with Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka the mastermind behind one of the finest footballing games ever created to hear his thoughts on how the series will make the generational leap and a whole lot more.
In a fascinating and at times quite candid interview, Seabass discusses the series' epic move to the 360, reveals details on what he plans for the future including the possibilities of Master League online and tantalises us with the possibilities of 11 versus 11 multiplayer via Xbox Live.
Going deeper into the PES universe, Seabass also talks about the new PSP version of the game and what he learned from PES PSP mark one, discusses the ultimate control method for PES and PS2's Dual Shock versus 360 gamepad, how what he saw in this year's World Cup directly influenced the design of PES 6 and whether he will ever be be able to create the ultimate version of PES.
Basically it's absolutely essential reading if you consider yourself any kind of PES fan, so with the teams in place and the ref about to blow the whistle, without further ado, let's kick off...
Perhaps we could start with an overview of Pro Evo 6 and what you feel the main advances are for the series as it moves onto the next generation and Xbox 360?
Seabass: Well as usual, what we're working on most is upgrading the AI. What we found and what we did was we tweaked the computer AI's attacking mentality, so you get a totally different feeling of how they attack you. And of course the defenders, the positiioning of the defenders, that wasn't really what we were aiming for [in the last PES], so we brushed that up too. Of course the UK and European press always criticise us about our goalkeeper AI and so we tuned this too, so we're a little bit more satisfied now. And so hopefully all these tweaks will satisfy the players of PES 6.
In terms of the move onto the next-generation and the Xbox 360 version - what challenges and opportunities has that presented?
Seabass: Well first of all there's been a kind of confusion and we apologise for that. We didn't actually mean it's 360 exclusive forever. We just meant that for this year it's only exclusive for 360. So from next year onwards we will create for other platforms. The 360 version? Well of course everyone is probably demanding upgrade of the graphics, making them more real. And of course upgrade of the AI, making it more real in that aspect as well. And since there's a high demand for that, we are of course up to answering those demands.
This time as a first shot, I think we've done pretty well, however we still have many, many more areas to explore and challenges to explore, for instance we want to do work on Master League a little bit more in the next gen and also the online aspect of the game. We have much more to explore in those areas and those are our main challenges for the year to come.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the 360 version is the opportunity for Live multiplayer - could you tell us something more about your plans for the online version of PES 6 360?