Pro Evolution Soccer: Konami Interview
We meet PES veteran Akiyoshi 'Greyhound' Chosokabe for a chat that focuses on the highly unique Wii version of the game and considers what might be in store for PES 2009.
Page: 1 2
By Adam Doree
The recently-released (and quite fantastic) Wii edition of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 has done a fine job of restoring our confidence in the PES series, which over the last couple of years has had to battle with online shortcomings and increasingly stiff competition from the impressive next-gen FIFA games.
The Wii version is one of those occasional games that makes genuinely innovative use of the controls, and is arguably the most sophisticated PES to date. The game's producer, Akiyoshi Chosokabe from Konami Tokyo, recently met with us for a chat about his work on the game, and what's next for the series.
While Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka has traditionally done the interview duties, Greyhound, a veteran of the series for over a decade, is perhaps less well known. But we think that may not be the case for long, given the successes of this Wii version and Konami's openly stated desire to continually tweak and reorganise the PES development team. And the fact that he seems like a very nice chap who should meet with the gaming press more often.
Alarmingly, it's the first time we've met with anyone from the PES development team, so we'd better make a good first impression. Let's jump straight into the interview.
Kikizo: Chosokabe-san, thank you very much for your time today. Could you tell us about your time at Konami to date, as well as your involvement with the PES series to date?
Greyhound: The first PES I worked on was ISS Pro. I started working for the PES development team as a designer. This is quite some time ago, about ten years ago.
Kikizo: One thing I was curious about, before we move on to some of the game specifics, are the team names that you seem to choose for yourselves, like Seabass and Greyhound - how do you choose these names for yourselves?
Greyhound: The reason why Mr Takatsuka is called Seabass is just because he loves fishing seabass. In my case, I thought it might be difficult for European people to pronounce my family name, Chosokabe. I keep two Italian Greyhound dogs, and I love them, so I chose the name of this type of dog. I have a question...?
Greyhound: The name of the producers - dog and fish - I am just wondering if you as westerners find this 'ridiculous'?
Kikizo: To be honest with you, I think Japanese creators often have different, unique aspects to their personalities, for example we have the creator named Suda 51, so I think we are used to hearing many unusual words and names from the Japanese developers.
Greyhound: I see, thank you.
Kikizo: Let's talk about your new control system then, was this the original brief or did it come about unexpectedly during development?
Greyhound: Yes, I have focused on how to create a new PES with a totally new control system. I am confident that I have found a brand new and completely different simulation style. You can play more intuitively using the pointing function of the Wii controller, allowing you to command all the players, not just the player with the ball. The PES development team has always been trying to make further improvements to the gameplay. But the mission given to my team was to create something brand new and different. I was also thinking about creating brand new gameplay, where the entire team and not only individual players could be controlled. When I was presented with the features of the Wii console, I jumped on its new control system without hesitation to create a brand new one.
Kikizo: Once people discover the control system that you have created here, they may ask why this has not been done before - and I think you can guess who I mean by that - so why has nobody thought to do soccer on Wii in this way before?
Greyhound: I don't understand why nobody made this kind of control system for soccer simulation titles before. I love to play RTS and FPS for the war simulation category, and I always thought there should be variety in the soccer simulation titles as well. So it's strange that nobody has worked on the game in this kind of way before.
Kikizo: I am interested in your choice of presentation in certain areas of the game. This seems to be more sophisticated than the previous titles because of the new control system; you could argue it's the most advanced PES to date. But on the other hand, there are some characters in super-deformed style. Were you just trying to appeal broadly?
Greyhound: Because it's for Wii, I wanted to make use of style that is familiar for Wii, so we added these deformed characters as additional content - I just want the users to casually play the Mii character when they are tired from serious matches! I wanted to do something new for the interface (like menu screens and formation setting screens) so I just used the big head character as a different type of presentation there. I wanted to make the interface more user friendly.