PES 2021 is on its data pack update 4.0 but that doesn't stop us from looking forward to the next edition of the popular football franchise.
The global lockdowns in 2020 caused issues with the development timelines for PES 2021, so it was just a season update.
Konami was focused on saving up the bigger wholesale changes for PES 2022, which will also be able to make the most of the next-gen consoles.
Lockdowns have continued so it remains to be seen how much this will impact them, but these are the top things we want to see.
More Licence Rights
Rightly or wrongly licences play a huge role in the image and experience of a football game.
It's how FIFA got its advantage, but PES has steadily clawed this back in recent years.
In partnering with some of the biggest clubs in Europe (Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester United), Konami has shown their intent.
But the world of licences is very fluid and FIFA will fight back. As we see more fragmentation of the licences the only loser is the players of both games.
Konami needs to keep battling, fans want more leagues and more teams - especially in the Premier League.
This is the one area that FIFA has consistently beaten PES.
It's also one of the easiest areas for Konami to invest in fixing. The screens and menus are very shallow.
This could be deliberate to keep them simple, but it often leaves players to feel like there's less depth.
Making the menus more engaging, adding more depth to the commentary and adding pre and post-match reports would go a long way to fixing this.
Gameplay will no doubt be looked at due to the new game engine, but being more specific - AI for CPU controlled players needs to be looked at.
Defenders are often guilty of terrible decision making when not being controlled, drifting out of position irrationally or having the ball bounce off them.
Referring AI will also be under the microscope. There are possible more question marks over PES fouls than there are over VAR!
Often the smallest touches are given as fouls, which can infuriate players. Introducing more scenarios for different types of referees could be another level of depth.
Yes, the rules are the rules, but to see different referees offer different approaches within these would be exciting.
There is a huge difference between the online and offline experience on PES.
Many games have had issues in the last 18 months, but the PES servers could do with an upgrade.
Delays in button responses can ruin an online experience very quickly, and defensive control is a particularly sore point for PES 2021.
This is less about the game itself, but the infrastructure supporting it. If Konami can get it right, it can be another thing PES can point to in its quest to beat FIFA.
Maintain Gameplay On New Engine
PES has always been the place where the 'true' football fans go. The ones who love the beautiful game and see FIFA as unrealistic and arcade.
The commitment to this needs to continue and evolve a little further, especially when defending and mentioned with improved AI.
A new engine is always a risk, but the Gameplay should be the focus above all else.