eFootball celebrates the Nationals and is renewed: we talked about it with KONAMI
The first topic discussed with David was "mandatory" that of the World Cup, in full swing. This is of course a phase in which eFootball is playing defense, to use a football metaphor, not having available as is known the official license of the prestigious event. As pointed out to me by David himself, Konami, however, has license agreements with the individual football federations, so it is able to field all the national teams participating in the World Cup: and it is in fact to the national teams that "The Football Festival" is dedicated, the season of the game that kicked off on November 17th.
First of all, for a limited period of time it is possible to set up friendly matches, both online and locally, using 40 national teams: there are all those of the World Cup, plus some excellent excluded, including... Italy! Then we find a special event that sees us engaged against the AI of the game and that is designed to replicate the experience of the World Cup, with a first step that recalls a group stage (you have to win 5 points in 3 games) and a subsequent series of four knockout matches. Even the live commentary of the usual Caressa / Marchegiani has been integrated with new content referring to this context of "quadrennial tournament for Nationals".
The "Dream Team" mode in this period is also dedicated to national teams, with particular Weekly Events reserved for teams composed of players of the same nationality and / or at certain levels of overall value, designed to level the competition and reward the actual skill of the players. To these events, and in particular to the special events "Weekend Showdown" is then linked to the collective competition "International Cup", in which all users can participate, setting the country of belonging as the base team of their Dream Team.
In parallel with these initiatives, we are also witnessing an intensification of the proposals in the Game Shop, with interesting packages for 11 players dedicated to the main National Teams (at a cost of 900 eFootball Coins) and some Premium packs of 1500 Coins also containing a player in Big Time version, equipped with dedicated design, exultations and audio commentary.
To stay on the subject of monetization (for a game that we remember remains entirely free-to-play), another important novelty is that of the "Game Pass", a tool through which Konami has decided to convey most of the rewards that were previously given to the spicciolata on the occasion of the various games / activities. The Pass proposed by the game is divided into three floors: one Normal, automatically active for all users, plus two others (Extra and Premium) unlockable instead for a fee. The pricing and reward structure means that by completing the 50 levels of these plans (100 levels for the Premium one) a large part of the spending is regained as cash-back, in the form of Coins received as a prize. Of course, as usual in these cases, the activation of a paid plan is retroactive, so you can unlock it even near the end of the season to receive all the rewards due based on the level reached.
After reviewing these monetization / player engagement proposals, I went on to ask David for an opinion on the changes made to the gameplay since the last update, apparently minor tweaks, but able to significantly change the game dynamics: "we have received a huge amount of feedback and a great deal of work is underway, of which we are very proud, to interpret the demands of the audience and find ways to implement them in the game", was his first comment. David said he was very satisfied with how the game presents itself today, not only for those who play but also for those who attend the matches (Konami focuses a lot on eSport, we refer you for example to this news of a few days ago). The recent changes to physics and gameplay, primarily the different calibration of the speed of the ball during passes, clearly serve as a response to the widespread opinion "FIFA is fast, eFootball is slow", going in the direction of making the game a little more dynamic, "... but not too much!" as he confirmed to me with a smile.
About the technical implementation of the game, there was also talk of the adoption of Unreal Engine, probably among the main factors that led to delays and problems encountered by the game at the beginning. In confirming that there are no second thoughts about it, and reminding me that for the team the transition to UE was not a total leap into the void since the mobile version of the game already adopted that game engine, David obviously recognized these difficulties, but remembered the total revolution that affected the game ... Not only the change of engine, but also the complete upheaval of the business model and the structure of the game. We agreed on the particular criticality that problems and delays have on a title so linked to a real counterpart as a football game: "when September arrives and the real championships begin, we understand very well that people start asking 'then, where is the game?!?' ", David confessed to me. In this regard, I tried to ask if the current approach will be maintained for the next season, and we will therefore see a simple update (with name change) of the game, but I have not had confirmation about it; There is still a long time left and it is possible that Konami wants to evaluate various possible ways to propose the future incarnation of eFootball to the market.
Finally, as a fan of the mode, I could not help but ask for news about the arrival of the Master League. David reiterated how much the team is aware of the importance that the mode has among a wide audience of players, more devoted to the single-player and managerial field, but he was not unbalanced on times and deadlines: he confirmed to me the team is working following the established roadmap and therefore ... we just have to wait confidently!