One on one interview with PES European Brand Manager Lennart Bobzien: Microtransactions, Nintendo Switch, Jorg Albertz and more!

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On Thursday August 2nd, I was given the exciting opportunity to visit Celtic Park and go hands on with Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 during Konami’s ‘Pre-Season Tour’. Full impressions are on their way, for now, I have a gameplay video to share as well as a one on one interview with the PES European Brand Manager Lennart Bobzien.

 



 

On the inclusion of the SPFL…

“We looked early in the planning process at potential markets and leagues. We immediately rejected the English Premier League as due to certain deals it’s impossible. Something that stood out is the passion of the Scottish football fans. They’re true enthusiasts, fanatics. We also have a super PES community in Scotland and therefore including this league fully licensed is an amazing opportunity to advance our brand and give fans an amazing football experience.”

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On expanding beyond Rangers and Celtic…

“We are always looking for the chance to expand and exploring new opportunities for partner clubs (I specifically asked about Hearts and Hibs). It’s very important and amazing to get to work so closely with partner clubs but nothing is planned in Scotland right now. The options will remain open though.”

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On Ibrox and Celtic Park…

“I can’t tell you exactly when, all I can tell you is soon. (Me – Is that very soon?) Soon is all I can say right now! (Can you tell me off the record?) Still very soon. What I can say is that when they do come they will look amazing. The stadiums have been 3D scanned to truly bring them to life just like the Camp Nou and Veltins Arena in the demo (they do look stunning).”

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 On including Legends in PES 2019…

“Legends will always be tied to the club they played for due to licensing, Steven Gerrard is a Liverpool legend so he, unfortunately, won’t be available in a Rangers kit. We’re always looking into legends, its a constant process and we’ll be working with partner clubs like AS Monaco, Schalke, Rangers, and Celtic to identify potential such as Brian Laudrup, Gascoigne. I would love to see Jorg Albertz, The Hammer (to which I intervened to pretty much beg for that) and Stefan Klos. The discussion is ongoing.”

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On microtransactions…

“The most important thing is feedback from hardcore MyClub users. We’ve been checking social media, discussing with the community then bringing concerns to the development team. The changes that have been made so far (in-game currency has 2.5x the value this year and you can have 1000 player slots without spending anything) have been in direct response to community concerns. It isn’t about drastic changes, it’s about accessibility and quality of life improvements.”

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On Star Wars Battlefront 2, Metal Gear Survive backlash…

“We are always listening to all of our users and trying to implement and discover what is actually possible. The team in Japan are always listening. The community is very important and we evaluate and prioritize their concerns based on what is actually possible. MyClub is a very popular mode and making it as user friendly as possible is vital.”

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On abandoning last gen consoles…

“This was decided early in development. Maybe even before development began by the team. The PS3 and Xbox 360 were amazing consoles but they’ve had their time. We appreciate our fanbase on those consoles but by focusing on the PS4, Xbox One and PC we can achieve more technically, such as the Enlighten engine.”

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Is there a Nintendo Switch version planned?

“No plans. The focus is firmly on PS4, Xbox One and PC based on what’s possible on those platforms and bringing the best experience we can. I love the Switch, I have mine with me and we are very aware of the success and popularity but at this time there are no plans.”

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On visible fatigue and the meta game…

“It depends on your playing style. If you are a player who spends ninety minutes holding down R1, sprinting everywhere on the park you’ll see the impact on your team much more clearly than players who play slow build up and hold the ball. Our team has tried to recreate the impact of fatigue properly, they’ve interviewed fitness staff from all of our partner clubs to analyze the exact effect tiredness has on players. Players with lower stamina statistics will suffer more than those with higher stats (I noticed this with Suarez who looked tired compared to Messi who was unstoppable even in the 93rd minute). You need more game management now. You need to decide when to make a sprint like in real football. From the beginning of the game, you’ll constantly need to think tactically about your sprinting and decision making which will bring more realism to the game.”

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On the reaction to losing the Champions League license…

“We’ve accepted the fact we’ve lost this license. You can consider acquiring so many new licenses, our most ever, as a response. With our large license drive, especially in Europe, we’re making a statement to our fans. We are moving forward. We are making a statement to our competitor. We are not done by far. We are only just getting started.

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On the importance of Rangers, Celtic…

I started by indicating how pleased I am with the inclusion of the team I support, Rangers, and how this really helps the game appeal to me.

“We want to achieve that. To appeal to the local fans and give them a real football game featuring their favorites. The 3D scans will bring this to life. You’ll be able to play with Aberdeen at Ibrox stadium and you’ll have both an amazing football game but also a game that connects with the fans personally.”

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There you have it. A run through of what makes PES 2019 so special straight from the man in the know. A focus on community as well as embracing fans and giving them something special that appeals to them will make PES 2019 stand out in the football market. Full impressions of my hands on time with the game are incoming but for now, I’m incredibly pleased with what I saw and heard. If you’re a fan of Scottish football, this is a game for you. I got to see images of players like Efe Ambrose and the team in Japan have gone to great lengths to truly represent Scottish football. It’s a hugely impressive achievement.

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