Konami are embarking on the long road towards redeeming eFootball, their free-to-play PES successor which became the worst rated game on Steam not long after its launch in September. The first steps: cancelling some content, refunding players, and releasing a patch with a lot of bug fixes.
Let's start with the 0.9.1 patch first. Shortly after its barebones launch, players of eFootball began sharing screenshots and GIFs of the myriad bugs they were encountering. They were pretty funny, and so now, in turn, are the patch notes. Here's a sampling:
- Some players are shown as a floating suit, or disappear entirely, in the pre-match cutscene.
- The referee may be shown as being trapped on the surface of the pitch during a match.
- Players (aside from the set piece taker) may run through the advertisement boards and out of the field during a corner kick.
- Two or more balls may appear to be in play at the same time.
I love it. You can find the full list of patch notes on the Konami site, alongside some detail of what issues they're aware of and still working on.
As you might have noticed, this patch is version 0.9.1. eFootball was always meant to launch basic and grow over time, with version 1.0 initially due November 11th. Another statement today on the Konami site says this update has now been delayed until spring 2022.
Consequently, DLC for the free-to-play eFootball which relies upon version 1.0, called the eFootball™ 2022 Premium Player Pack, has been cancelled and any players who bought it will be automatically refunded.
"We have been working diligently towards distributing an update that will bring new content to the game, including a new mode where you can strengthen and play with an original team, as well as support for mobile devices on November 11, 2021. Unfortunately, we have concluded that more time is needed to deliver the product in the quality that will meet the expectations of our users and have decided to postpone the delivery," says the statement."We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this causes our users and other stakeholders who have been looking forward to this title."
eFootball did launch in an awful state, but at least part of players' negative response to it is because of mismanaged expectations. PES has traditionally been a premium game that releases in a relatively polished state once per year. When the series took last year off, in favour of a major new reboot, players expected big improvements regardless of the move to a free-to-play model. Instead, eFootball released essentialy as an early access game, with few teams and modes and a roadmap for updates - plus plentiful bugs.
If Konami manage to turn eFootball around, it'll be one of the biggest comebacks in videogames, but I hope they do it.