We are nearing that time of the year again when PES and FIFA square off for the attention of football game fans. Like most things in 2020, however, things will be a little different, especially as Pro Evolution Soccer is concerned, with developer Konami making some announcements with regards to PES 2021.

To that end, this year’s version of the football game will not feature as many improvements or enhancements compared to previous iterations, according to the Japanese game developer.

The reason for this is down to Konami focusing more of its efforts on next-gen consoles and in particular, building a game engine that makes the most of what the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have to offer from a performance perspective.

“However, the sheer scale of everything we are aiming to achieve for our next-gen debut has made it necessary to pare back our efforts in other areas of development. As a result, we have made the decision to launch this year’s PES as a streamlined offering in the form of a ‘season update’. That being said, we are still extremely confident that this year’s game offers fans more than enough thrills to tide them over until our next-gen title is ready for launch,” the company wrote in a recent blog post.

Konami adds that testing of this new game engine should begin in mid-2021, with the teams working on the project aiming to have it ready for a PES title later that year.

While it may not be the news that fans of the franchise will want to hear, it is better to temper expectations in our option.

Given how Konami’s football titles have proved better in terms of gameplay compared to EA Sports’ ones in recent years, it should be interesting to see if the new game engine will yield the same difference.

In order to do right by its fans, Konami says it will be selling this year’s PES game at a cheaper price point, although how much that is, remains unclear at this stage. As is an official launch date, as well as what actual new content will be on offer.

With 2K and EA Sports both hyping up their own plans as far as sports titles on next-gen consoles go, it should be interesting to see if Konami can outdo them.

That said, one issue still lingers – licensing. With EA having a firm grip on that thanks to FIFA, will gameplay and better next-gen performance matter? We’ll have to wait to find out.