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Konami is turning PES into a digital-only, free-to-play franchise called eFootball

Konami is rebranding its Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) franchise after over two decades and turning the soccer sim into a digital-only, free-to-play series.

Konami is rebranding its Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) franchise after over two decades and turning the soccer sim into a digital-only, free-to-play series.

The long-running franchise will now be known simply as eFootball, with Konami pitching the reworked brand as a "next-generation, free-to-play football simulation experience." 

The move comes after Konami decided to rename the series eFootball PES -- or eFootball Winning Eleven in Japan -- in 2020, completing a gradual shift away from the PES brand. 

Outlining its plans for the refreshed franchise, Konami explained eFootball will be rebuilt in Unreal Engine and support cross-platform play between console, PC, and mobile platforms. 

The Japanese company claims eFootball will be a "platform" in itself, and while the core offering will be free-to-play some game modes will be sold as optional DLC to give players "the freedom to build an experience that follows their interests."

A full gameplay reveal is slated for August, but Konami has teased a new animation system built around "Motion Matching" technology that "converts the vast range of moments that players make on the pitch into a series of animations, selecting the most accurate one in real-time."

As detailed in the roadmap below, some features including mobile controller support, online leagues, and cross-platform matches between console PC, and mobile will only be rolled out in Autumn and Winter. 

At launch, players will be able to play local matches using a selection of licensed clubs including Juventus, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, and play cross-generation matches on console platforms.

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