3 Things To Up The Immersion Level In PES Master Leagues

Include The German Bundesliga Football Pyramid

Yes, I understand that Bundesliga owns the rights to all their teams and players and is not a part of FIFPro, but this is the PEOPLE’S league! Let’s represent it properly. I know that you can use option files on the PC and PS4 versions (sorry XBOX ONE players) to add Bundesliga to the competition list, but in doing so you must overwrite an existing league.

I’d contend even if there is no ability to get the player faces/likenesses, it’s essential to have the top 5 UEFA competitions (EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1). Including the German football pyramid (1. Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga, 3. Liga) complete with promotion and relegation is essential to creating a realistic and immersive Master League. This is one of the only leagues that has its ducks in a row. They can manage financials, they pay their players well, they keep ticket prices down for the supporters, and a good portion of the teams are owned by the fans. Did I mention your match tickets double as public transportation passes? We need Bundesliga in PES.

While we’re at it, there is one other league I wouldn’t mind seeing make its way into PES – the Russian Premier League. We have some team representation under “Other European Teams,” but I’d play a ML with a Russian squad just for the Cyrillic on the kits!


Realistic Transfers, Loans & Financials

One of the louder complaints within Master League mode (aside from the regen youth players) is that the transfer logic is wonky. This is likely because the overall financial system within the engine isn’t very robust or accurate. Take for instance the beginning transfer budget for AZ Alkmaar (£10.3M). The entire club is only paid £35M for the 2017/18 season, and they have spent an average of £4.8M (£24 in total) on incoming transfers over the last five seasons. So why on earth would they have access to an £10M transfer budget?

PES shouldn’t be a financial management simulation, and I’m not calling for that. I’m actually not an advocate of complex financial systems, where you manage ticket prices, money spent on scouts, maintenance, etc in console games. FIFA does this, and it’s overkill when the main draw to this genre is to physically play the games with a controller your hands. I’m just asking the background logic to simulate the outcomes of the financial system.

By that logic, transfers have a very specific flow to them. The best younger players from leagues outside Europe come to the top European leagues because they are the clubs paying the most money. Meanwhile most players playing at “Peak Level” within the Top 5 European leagues move around mostly within their own competition. When they do move to a new club in another country, they tend to join sides with similar prestige. Brazil sells it’s players to the European leagues, and in general the South Americas tend to end up in Italy or Spain, and not Germany.

Modeling the financial structure and player movement for Europe would help things feel more realistic. This could be expanded to include tendencies for older star players to move to less prestigious competitions or managers to favor transfers for players known to work well in their tactics. I’m just suggesting we begin building out the logic a little at a time so that it can become more robust.

From an aesthetics point of view, just modeling some of the way transfers are presented on transfermarkt.co.uk would be a huge upgrade and boon to the immersion. As it stands, transfers are a thing that happens (relatively easily I might add), and there’s no fan fare or attention paid to it. I want to be upset when one of my rivals buys a top-tier talent.

Loans have their own separate set of issues that break the immersion for me. Take for instance Tomáš Kalas, a CB on loan from Chelsea’s army of loanees. There’s nothing designating him as being on loan when I begin my Master League, nor anything stopping me from selling him or signing him myself.  The loan rules appear to be missing in general for each league. This may seem like a nitpicking exercise, but if I’m only supposed to be allowed to have 8 loaned players on my club and up to 5 on the field together at any given point in time. I want that to be the case in my Master League.

In terms of how I’d approach the loan visualization, I’d once again take a page out of the transfermarkt visual.

Highlights & News From Other Competitions & Confederations

One of the many wonderful things about the beautiful game is how far it reaches, how many up-and-coming stars there are across the globe, and the variety of personalities from continent to continent. Each competition has it’s own story and various story arcs. Therefore, in addition to headline stories about my squad, I’d also love to see news stories about big transfers from other competitions, Cup winners, record breaking performances, and the sackings . . . oh the sackings . . . the list could go on and on. Being able to flip through the various confederations to see what’s going on in their champion’s league or competitions would be an excellent immersive addition.

Going so far as to add small clips from other Champions League games would be a great way to make this thing come alive. Who won? What were the upsets? What are the biggest matchups in the knockout round? Hell, I’ll even back up to the pool drawing stage.  I’d watch a cut scene played to see the group draws and to find out who I got lumped in with. All of these types of things would push the Champions League past being “officially licensed by PES” to the point of being “officially deployed by PES.”

PES is a wondeful game, and I can’t wait to see how the Master League grows over what’s been deemed a 3-year development arc for the franchise, beginning with PES 2018.

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