With the dawn of a new century, Konami went one step further: they commissioned KCET (Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo) to create a football game where not arcade but simulation was paramount. With that, Pro Evolution Soccer set foot on the hallowed turf for the first time – even though it was already the fourth iteration of Winning Eleven.
ISS Pro Evolution (2000)
Apparently sales had gone down compared to the beginning of the ISS series so that Konami decided to task a second team of developers to craft a game with focus on improvements to gameplay. It should become a game that resembled real football more than any of its predecessors. In 2003, KCET’s PES series superseded the original ISS series, which had been developed heretofore. ISS Pro Evolution still used the ISS engine, but you could instantly feel the difference on the pitch, of which more later.
As soon as you launched the game you were greeted by a nice – by the standards of the time – intro movie, that already got you in the right mood for football. Unfortunately, there were barely any changes to the available modes – except for the penatly shoot-out, which had been removed. You were able to create your own players in edit mode and you could also change players‘ names. It was not really necessary to change the player names, though, because you could easily recognise the players from their fake names. The number of available national teams was ramped up to 52 nations.
But it was only after you started a match that you felt the not-so-subtle difference to its predecessors. All the animations were a lot smoother and the AI of your teammates was more sophisticated, with the result that the teams‘ moves look more realistic and organised. Alas, the game’s speed was still too high, so that it continued to feel arcadey.