Back in 1989, programmer Dino Dini created the seminal soccer game Kick Off for Amiga and Atari ST. Hugely popular in Europe, this overhead-viewed, arcade-style soccer game was launched to critical acclaim thanks to its lightning-fast gameplay that was exceptionally fun – and challenging too. A number of sequels were produced over subsequent years, and the game was ported to several European home computers, as well as NES, Master System, and Genesis.
Now, 26 years since the release of the original game, Dino Dini has announced that he's working on an all-new sequel, Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival, for PS4 and PS Vita.
In his announcement, Dino said that, "Current (soccer) games… have a tendency to focus on the spectacle. I'm going to go back to the basics to focus on the sport. It's not going to be about you controlling a famous character on the football field with TV cameras and all the rest of it. For me, what's important is to capture the sport so that you will have the ability to express yourself on the field with how you control the ball. You'll train and practice. You'll need to have to have the mental composure so that you can pull it all together in that moment that counts so you can score a goal right when you need it."
As a fan of the original game, I'm pretty excited to hear about this. What made Kick Off such a great game was the high degree of skill required to play it. The ball didn't stick to players' feet as in most arcade-style soccer games, but instead required the player to maintain control of it by constantly adjusting the controller so the ball wouldn’t run away from you. Kicks and passes were executed with a single button press, and you could aftertouch the ball by moving the joystick to bend the ball after it was kicked. The result was a fast-moving game that was so popular in the Computer and Video Games offices where I worked at the time, that we actually had to ban the game from being played during the day because it was taking up so much of the staff's time.
I'm really interested to see just how much of the original game's style will be captured in this new version, but according to Dino, it sounds like it'll be very much based on Kick Off's gameplay:
"The spirit will be that of the old games, but designed with modern hardware in mind. This is particularly true of the controllers. 25 years ago home computers used an eight-direction joystick with one button. These were digital, not analog. You could only aim in eight directions. The new game will make full use of the analog controls, and the gameplay is tuned to work with these."
"The effect is that the feel and the spirit of the original game is retained, but the possibilities for precision and skill are vastly improved."
If you're interested at all in soccer games, this should be something to watch out for. There's no release date as of yet, other than 2016.