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Interviews

PES 2011

Konami's Jon Murphy gives us the low-down on the new soccer sequel...

Jon Murphy is a man who lives and breathes Pro Evolution Soccer.

Having worked on the series for 12 years, he is a trusted ally of genius auteur Seabass - and, as European PES Team Leader at Konami - the go-to-guy for the rampant, ever-questioning Pro Evo community.

When we catch up with him, he's enthusiastic - and football mad - as ever, regaling us with (off the record) stories of ex-Premiership defenders and you-wouldn't-think-it-but-he's-all-right-actually-him tales of modern day international heroes.

What he really wants to talk about, however, is PES - and how the 2011 iteration of the game will claw back the hardcore fans that have strayed from the series in the last few years.

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And you know what? It sounds like he might just have a point...

What are the biggest improvements on PES 2010 in PES 2011?
Freedom of control - and, in fact, freedom of every element of the game. Also, the animations and also the fact the Master League is going to be online this year.

What has improved in the animations - which were an area of some criticism in the previous game?
Everything. Everything's been revamped. The whole animation system is new. For about three months [the team in Japan] have been mo-capping new animations, one day a week for an entire day. There's hundreds of hours of new animations that have gone into it.

They think over 1,000 new animations have gone in. it's partly to deal with the situation we've had for a while where people are saying that the movements are a bit robotic - especially for things like running, which we've been told isn't realistic or 'next gen' enough.

It's partly to do with that and partly to do with the issue of reaction times not being quick enough. There are new animations for more realism but also to improve the reaction times.

The power bar is going to play a much bigger role this time. How much of a feature is that going to be?
It's a massive feature - not because you've got a power bar, but because you've got control over every element. So in the past if you looked at PES 2010, for example, you've got a small power bar that pops up down the bottom, but it only appears at certain times.

Now you've got complete control over everything. Any time you make any pass, any header - whatever the situation, throw in, goalkeeper throw out - you have total control l over direction and power. The AI's been dropped right back and you now have power to do with what you want in the game, which opens it up to a completely different level.

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To start with, you find yourself making lots of mistakes - but you've only got yourself to blame now, whilst in the past with PES you would think to yourself: 'I didn't pass there. That wasn't me.' Now there's no excuse.

That goes along with the improved 360 degree control over passing, headers etc. The freedom in the game is immense.

You said earlier this year that PES 2011 will force players to "relearn the game". Did you just mean PES or did you mean football games in general?
Bit of both, probably. Certainly relearn the way you play PES, which I think is very healthy. To start with, you'll just end up kicking the ball out and passing it in completely the wrong place.

You've been so used to lazy passing, where you kind of put it in the right direction and you kind of know it will go to someone's feet and that's the end of it. Up until now, it's been quite lazy football. This isn't. There is a learning curve, but the first time you put a ball unto space for another player to run onto without using any of the through passing is a great moment - where you can effect the shape of your team and the way they play purely by passing.

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