There’s a certain kind of failure that manages to transcend the moment in which it takes place. Take Konami’s eFootball 2022, a soccer game that is so disjointed and unpolished that it became the worst-rated video game by fans on Steam despite being out for less than a month. After taking a year off from publishing a yearly addition to the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) franchise, Konami released a re-brand to the 26-year old soccer simulation in the form of eFootball 2022 at the end of September. The game was free-to-play and was so bad upon its launch that the Japanese company had to issue an apology just 24 hours into its existence.
In the apology an update was set for October but as we near the end of the month, another roadblock has emerged — the game’s first major patch, version 0.9.1, will be delayed until November. As highlighted by a number of fans, eFootball 2022 is chock full of visual glitches, faulty animations, horrendous facial scans, and a host of other performance issues that have led to the game becoming a punchline of sorts.
The whole debacle feels like a strange funeral for PES, a series that was beloved throughout the 2000s and offered the only real competition to the other soccer game in the space — EA’s FIFA. PES 2020 was released in 2019, so it’s been a full two years since Konami has put out a soccer video game, adding salt to the wounds of eFootball’s failure. Considering that FIFA will also receive a rebrand, which revolves around a name change as well, this could have been the beginning of a sweet new rivalry.
Only up from here— eFootball was developed using Unreal Engine 4 and was supposed to be relatively sparse, at least initially. Cross-platform play, additional game modes, and a battle pass were all going to be unveiled as the game marinated. What actually transpired though — a technically fraught disaster, was probably not what Konami had in mind and certainly throws a wrench into the game’s future. Maybe when the patch finally drops, we’ll begin seeing some incremental improvement. The situation can’t exactly get worse.
Aside from the whole eFootball quagmire, Konami has started to dip its feet into the hardware game with a gaming PC and accessories geared towards competitive gaming.