Gamesave in a coma

Today’s a big day for PES2010-related news, with the expiry of playtest NDAs across various high-profile PES websites. I’ll probably get around to commenting about it all in Friday’s post. The idea behind PES Chronicles is a simple one: a personal blog about my experiences of playing football games from day to day. It’s not a news aggregator website.

And so the biggest football game issue for me right now is the loss of my Manager Mode savegame in FIFA09. I’m still just as intrigued about PES2010 as the next PES fan, but after losing dozens of hours of hard FIFA09 play to a random glitch, or data loss, or whatever it was—I’m somewhat distracted, let’s say.

Apparently, FIFA09 doesn’t want to be loved. Not by me anyway. Things were good between me and FIFA09—probably the best they’ve ever been. Certainly I’ve not been this happy with FIFA09 since my regrettable, gushing reception of the game back in October last year.

But now something has gone wrong with my Manager Mode save file. It just crashes. It seems to be non-recoverable. It’s a bummer.

I’d had my ups and downs with FIFA09. It’s a game with too many issues. Every PES-schooled football gamer will know the kind of issues I mean.

But over the past few weeks things were beautiful, brilliant, the best ever. And, what was most surprising, I was really getting into my Manager Mode career.

I never thought it would happen between me and Manager Mode, but it did happen. The key, I found, is to forget all about it being a supposed career mode, and just play it as a long-term league competition mode where you can bring in new players if you want them. I loved my team, and my players, particularly Pavlyuchenko—a big, strong striker in the Schwarz mould, but who could accelerate like a Porsche. It was all perfect. I’d played every morning for the past three weeks. “Ain’t nothin‘ gonna stop us…”

And now the save game won’t work any more. It just freezes as soon as I try to play the next match. Liverpool vs. Coventry City. I can move around in all the game and pre-match menus the same as normal. As soon as I try to start the match, BOOM. Black screen. Full console lock-up. Game Over.

I’ve probably hard-rebooted my Xbox360 twenty or thirty times trying various things to get around the freeze. Nothing’s doing it. (So, yes, I’ve already tried turning it off and turning it back on again.)

Google reveals that this is a common problem in Manager Mode. There’s no known solution. Most people seem to have got it in their 3rd seasons. It happened to me in my 4th season (or my 5th—not sure now).

Nobody knows what the cause is, whether it’s corrupt data or what. I have tried resetting the squads. I have tried deleting the cache. I have also deleted the game from the 360 hard drive and reinstalled it. I’ve fiddled about randomly with the menus, trying to fool the match into loading. Nothing worked. I’ve also tried Simming the match—it still just freezes, immediately.

I was, and still am, genuinely distraught. A lot of time and effort went into that Manager Mode career. It was just getting great. The goals were flying in. Some were the kinds of goals I never thought I’d score regularly in FIFA09.

If this had happened just a month ago, truthfully, I wouldn’t have been so bothered. That it should happen now, when I feel that I’m just getting to know FIFA09 properly, is just too cruel.

A common refrain in the information I’ve found is that people have eventually just started new careers. But what guarantee is there that the problem, whatever it is, won’t recur? The consensus seems to be: make continuous, rolling, backup saves, every 5 games or so. That way the worst that can happen is you have to replay the last session. This assumes that the problem is corrupted save data, of course.

No more Pavlyuchenko. No more Bojan.No more ‘me’—the created player I used in BaP, and imported into my Manager Mode when I started it—who’d developed beautifully and was one of my team’s best players. Sure, I can always get Pavlyuchenko and Bojan again. I can import ‘me’ again. But it won’t be the same. That savegame was a unique record of tens of hours of playing time. It was shaping up to be something special.

But I’ve bit the bullet and restarted anyway. All the way back to the beginning. I’m not impressed. Not impressed at all.


  1. I’m surprised you’ve restarted again, after the new options that you’ve discovered (PES stat down grader, PSP 2009 etc….).

    I’ve been reading alot about PES2010 today, and I have to say that i’m really really looking forward to it. The WENB piece seems to only enhance the excitement after the guy who learned to love FIFA, is now potentially loving PES again.

    Also pleased to see that BaL is back in it. I haven’t played BaL for a good while now (trying to win every trophy), but it was great for a few months, providing you commit to it. The main message seems to be an improved AI, and a return to the “simulation” style.

    Saying that, in real life just in the last few seasons, I can think of about four 4-4’s, a 6-4 and a 7-4 just in the premier league. So who knows what’s real anymore!

  2. Liam—I’ve restarted my FIFA09 MM as Atletico Madrid, because playing FIFA09 with poor players (i.e. the starting Coventry squad) just isn’t a great game. Playing it regularly with good players though, as I’ve found over the past month or so, it is a genuinely great game, arguably the best pure football gaming experience I’ve had on next-gen.

    Those other options you mention are no options at all compared to the depth of the gameplay I’ve found in FIFA09 recently. There’s currently no satisfaction like scoring a screamer in FIFA09. (I’m very happy to hear Middle Shooting is back in PES2010.)

    I’m still really sore about losing my old save. That CCFC team I had was just starting to gel and go places. New horizons of gameplay that I’d personally never found before in FIFA09 were opening up and drawing me into Manager Mode—which I still think is a joke of a mode, so the gameplay must have been getting good. I was loving it so much that I want to recapture the magic. I can’t do that anywhere else but in FIFA09.

    As for the big PES2010 news… I’m very worried that Konami will have changed the gameplay (particularly its pace) between the playtests and release. Hope not. It all does sound good. I’ll have to see and hear a lot more before it’s an automatic purchase for me, though.

  3. I feel your devastation. That happened to me on football manager once. It feels like you’ve been robbed.
    On to the latest playtest reviews. I’m still very positive. I’ve only read WENB and pesgaming’s reviews (due my work firewall). The WENB review makes it seem wonderful already, but then again it reeks of advertising copy. The pesgaming review was a lot more balanced but I don’t agree at all with the reveiwers opinions of what makes a good football game.
    The best thing to take from both reviews is that the gameplay is slower, the AI is better and its perhaps more difficult. Very good news for me all in all.

  4. Grilled Seabass—it’s the first time it’s ever happened to me on something so crucial. I suppose I’ve been lucky in the past. I’m taking in all the PES2010 stuff and finding it tantalsiing, but the loss of that FIFA09 game save has really knocked me off kilter. I was really getting into FIFA09 in a way I never thought I would. You must know what I mean from your own play on the game—the overriding feeling is that it’s pretty good but not quite there, lacking a certain indefinable something. ‘Meh’ in internet-speak. I had that feeling right up until these past few weeks, when the ‘meh’ became the ‘wow‘. Like I said in the post, losing the game save now is almost as if FIFA09 doesn’t want to be loved by me.

    I’m happy enough with the PES2010 previews (which I see as one big, multi-limbed Preview).

    If I hadn’t seen that gameplay montage yesterday and had that dark thought about the game speed planted in my head, I’d be very happy. All the animations and tactics innovations will count for nothing if the game comes out played at that insane speed. I know, I know: the guy was probably just debugging, coding, etc. But nobody knows that for sure.

  5. One of the other interesting things that I read was that after the PESFAN/Gaming/WENB guys had finished, they were asked for their feedback that was then sent on the Japan. So hopefully they all emphasised the welcome decrease in speed. Good to know that Konami are taking more of an interest in the fans wants this time around. Think they’ve realised that they let FIFA in when there shouldn’t have even been a chance.

    Bit like Man Utd throwing away a 14 point lead to Arsenal that year, but they eventually got back on top!

  6. Thats a bummer bout you’re save file……this close to the new games, id have reservations about starting another one.
    I follow this blog but rarely post…..but is anyone else worried by how good FIFA sounds? 360 movement….ability to create your set pieces etc. Im hoping PES shares with us some absolute gems in the next couple of weeks……otherwise im defecting.
    T’will be a sad day.

  7. Not-greg – Savegame in a coma? I know, I know, it’s really serious…
    What a time for it to die though, its the PES gods guiding you I swear! As for the speed of the gameplay on that video, I think all the previewers have agreed that its a lot slower than last year, so I wouldn’t worry on that front. One thing though, WENB said tricks are back on the right stick, pesgaming say they haven’t changed, which one’s correct?

    Phil – PES never seems to pull any gems out of the bag unfortunately. I think the biggest ever surprise they ever pulled was the champions league mode last year. What I’ve learnt from playing FIFA09 though is that all the bells and whistles may entertain in the short term (I loved trying all the game modes and messing about with tricks & tactics etc) in the long term the gameplay just doesn’t do it for me. PES is returning to reclaim its crown, as the best football simulator on the market. I’m starting to believe it.

  8. Hi there,

    I might be suggesting the obvious… have you tried to just sim the liverpool fixture? Who knows…

  9. Apologies if I ddin’t see this in your original post but..

    You tried transferring the file off the xbox on your pc, copying the file and then loading the copy back on? I know it might sound like a non-starter but there is a glitch in GTA IV saves that they can’t be copied across to different PS3’s. I did this and it started to work.

    Worth a last ditch shot!

  10. Phil—‘worried’ isn’t the right word for me re. FIFA10, I want it to be great! I also want PES2010 to be great. Last year I just wanted PES2009 to be decent, and it was really, albeit not as difficult as it should’ve been long-term. I want more from PES2010 this year. If FIFA10 isn’t great I’ll be very surprised, and disappointed of course.

  11. Grilled Seabass—My worry over PES’s speed will remain until Gamescon, because it’s all conjecture and supposition that the ‘Konami cubicle tactics guy’ (that’s his name now) was debugging/crunching numbers/whatever.

    As we all know by now the build that previewers saw was an early one. What’s to stop Konami upping the speed, whether off their own bat or after focus-grouping the slowed-down gameplay with an archetypal bunch of impatient ADHD-afflicted teens, and deciding to play it safe and stick with the dizzy arcade speed?

    I won’t relax about this until PES2010 is shown at Gamescon in August and confirmed to still be the slowed-down, stately sim that all the previewers found it to be at 50%.

    Curse you, Konami cubicle tactics guy…

  12. Kani—Already tried it, as I say in the post. It froze in exactly the same way.

  13. Paww—now that one I haven’t tried yet. Like you say, worth a shot. At least I’d be able to tell myself afterward I’d tried everything. I’ll get on it in the morning.

  14. you poor bugger, i got burnt once and now i have 5 revolving save games of anything i’m playing from Oblivion to FIFA to try and avoid the potential devstation of losing hours of play (and, lets be honest, hard work and immersion)… I feel your loss…

  15. Ghost Of PES Past

    Hi Greg and others,

    We the soccer gaming community have swallowed it all from Konami before, all the lies, and reading that 8 way movement is still in seals it for me. This game will suck, it may look prettier than last year and minor tweaks may have been made but PES has always been about gameplay and no amount of window dressing will compensate for stiff rigid movements on the pitch.

    As RIOT predicted on FSB – “there is NO next-gen PES”

  16. Ghost Of PES Past—I’m wavering between the optimist camp and the pessimist camp (sometimes all at once).

    Sorry but I deleted most of your comment as it was a pretty brazen cut-and-paste job from a post made on PESfan last night (I was following the thread ‘live’ and remember the post very well).

    Even if you’re the original author of that post, I’m not really into posting content from another site here, even if you were just saving yourself some time to say the same thing again.

    Having said all that, I thought you/he were mostly right in spirit, but none of us can know anything really about either game right now.

    FIFA10? It’s almost certainly going to be great. Hearing that 360-dribbling has its doubters on FSB actually makes me think it’ll be even better than I thought.

    PES2010? Might be great. Probably be very good. Possibly another disappointment.

    We’ve just got to wait and see. “There is no next-gen PES” are words that could haunt us and the franchise until the PS4/Xbox720 come out.

  17. Chris—the ‘rolling save’ policy is one I always use when I have to manually save myself. With auto-save, I tend to ignore it and just trust that everything will be okay. This is the first – and hopefully last – time for this to happen. Backup everything, is my new motto for life.

  18. The most important website “vandal” here in spain put it clear: so far FIFA2010 and PRO2010 are goingt to be a choice of preference not of quality, PRO is putting a strong foot in next gen claiming its crown with FIFA. These people has been pretty critical about the last efforts of Konami and very possitive with FIFA and now, after they try both they are pretty sure this year is going to be the year for footy players. I know is just an opinion but this man in the review has all my trust for ive been following his reviews for years (i cant´t say the same about you since ive read you all kind and sometimes contradictory statment about FIFA AND PRO 2009, i know you don´t mean to be a critic but you do state an opinion sometimes with even more emphasis than profesional reviewers). So no guarantee of course (50%built), but pessimism is free. So far there´s no indication to claim a new failure since is wide open the positive/not negative reviews. Just write this because i don´t understand those strong negative (insulting sometimes) previews made out of nothing but dissapointments of the past… we will see…

    great blog as always

  19. fjmarlop—a blog is pretty much a licence for subjectivity in passing comment and opinion. I have swung wildly between all the games this year, but that’s simply been my year. Reviewers on websites and magazines have to be more moderate and objective—it’s expected of them.

    In a blog I have the luxury of splurging all my day-to-day anxieties, frustrations, enthusiasms, and manias… I plan to be a little more restrained in October, as I think my over-enthusiasm for FIFA09 in particular last year might have encouraged a few people to make purchases that they subsequently regretted. So I plan to rein that in a touch, or at least put it in unmistakeable ‘today’s opinion only’ terms.

    As for PES2010… I’ve just finished off tomorrow’s post, which strikes a pessimistic note, but I hope and expect that my pessimism will be proved wrong (rather than hoping it’ll be proved right, which I think there’s too much of right now).

  20. Hey not-Greg, I’m sure that by now you’ve read the detailed analysis ad description of the Tactical Sliders and Card system on WENB…. I have to tell you, I’m blown away. It creates a whole new dimension of managerial depth in tactics and gameplay…. in a very realistic way.

    The best thing is that they don’t affect abilities/attributes, they just change the behavior of players. For instance, sometimes a coach tells a player to fall back more frequently…. sometimes a coach gives a player freedom to go anywhere he wants….etc. Sometimes the whole team revolves around creating a shooting opportunity, crossing from the sides.

    If I had to choose between 360 movement, and the Cards and Sliders, I’d DEFINITELY go for the cards and sliders.

    While EA was concentrating on adding 360 movement and better ball physics, KONAMI concentrated on what made it special on the old gen…. the way players moved into space and behaved on the pitch. This kind of depth is what made PES, PES. It’s what we loved but couldn’t describe or put a finger on. And according to comparisons with PES2009, they did it WHILE making the game tons better visually.

    I predict that when you play PES 2010 for the first days, it may not give a revolutionary first impression, but on the long run -the way it has always been with PES- the game will seize the football gaming throne.

    It’s also more of a reason why I predict non-soccer-savvy sites like Gamespot will quickly dismiss it after a few hours of playing and comparing it to FIFA10…

  21. Hey Not-Greg, was just wondering what the increase in site traffic is when a new game is on it’s way. That’s certainly how I found the site last year. Has it increased significantly?

  22. hi not-greg,

    sorry, must have skipped the line that mentioned the simming 🙂

  23. TareX—I remember you were very unhappy with all things PES last year, so I think it’s a sign of the general mood in the PES community that you’re upbeat about PES2010. I have just finished reading everything about the cards and tactics on WENB and elsewhere. I am very, very impressed with how it all sounds. Now if we could just make that montage gameplay video from Tuesday retroactively disappear…

    I hope the general view – that the video showed a special speeded-up test setup of the game, for debug purposes or whatever – is true, I really do. But after the past few years, I think there’s a chance that was actual gameplay footage from the current build at the time the video was filmed—whenever that was. It’s not beyond Konami to cynically boost the game speed to hold onto the arcade market, while introducing other elements—new animations and a new tactics system etc.—to appease the old-school, sim-hungry crowd. Until I see definite evidence to the contrary I won’t be able to shake this suspicion.

    I’m also impressed with how FIFA10 is sounding—the FSB podcast had me drooling.

    For me there’s no opposition between PES and FIFA, although I am starting to see (in my current FIFA09 purple patch) how it’s a bad idea to try serving two masters. We’ll see how it all plays out though. But for that video I’d have few—if any—worries about PES2010 right now.

  24. Liam—the traffic won’t start seriously picking up until August time. The early showings for the games this year has seen a slight rise this month, but it’ll definitely rise next month as usual. It’ll keep rising and peak in the PES release week (probably on the very day of release). I never started the blog just to get page hits and I don’t judge its success or failure by that yardstick. But having said that, I think there is more I could do with the blog. I could start devoting more time to it and edit the posts better, making them more user-friendly (I do go on sometimes), and have a more attractive, internet-friendly layout, etc. A fresh new look will definitely happen soon.

  25. Kani – no worries, I follow a few blogs that I sometimes overlook bits of as well. Goes with the territory of reading text on a computer screen, I’ve found. The eye doesn’t like it. It’s not natural…

  26. I’m listening to the FSB podcast now…. wow… they really seem to be gushing about the simulation speed of the game, the pitch perfect ball phsyics (Adam called it the best he’s ever seen, period.), and the incredible life-like animations that -as Adam put it- are on a totally different level than the already brilliantly moving FIFA09.

    But, there is a general consensus that gameplay is the same. So, while FIFA10 will have TV-like animations, great speed, and perfect ball physics, I guess PES 2010 will ultimately have the better gameplay….

    And we know it’s gameplay that carries a game for an entire year…

  27. TareX—I thought it was a mistake at first to have the WENB boys doing an FSB podcast, but ended up enjoying it anyway, and as I said, I drooled at the descriptions of FIFA10. In particular the slow pace of the game. I’m not happy with Adam’s overall negative posture towards FIFA’s slowed-down gameplay—why is it good for PES2010, but bad for FIFA10? I suppose, though, it’s all to do with the infamous reaction times in next-gen FIFA. For my money, the slower the better! I’d like to see a FIFA08-style pace, and to hell with the kids (of all ages) who don’t like it. I worry that, hearing this kind of thing, EA will lose their bottle and decide to up the speed to FIFA09 levels before release. That would be a tragedy, as FIFA09 is too fast in my view.

  28. absolutely, not-greg… fifa must be slower.
    I have to say, all this slider business just seems like Konami desperately trying to catch up by using last years FIFA features and repackaging them as unique. From what i’ve heard it doesn’t sound like anything new to me?
    I’d really love it to be the case but to go from a very poor second to first again in one year’s worth of developing with what must be a completely overhauled engine would surely take superhuman developing. Especially when you consider EA is refining an already impressive engine.
    And, for me, if manager mode is half as good as I hope, Pro Evo doesn’t stand a chance. Whereas 360 dribbling sounds quite gimmicky at first glance, i think it may well make everything that’s come before it feel very clunky and restrictive in retrospect.

  29. Chris—you never know. I always think back to the start of this console generation for me, August 2007. FIFA08 was like a bolt of lightning from nowhere. There wasn’t even a hint that it was going to be anything like the great game it turned out to be. PES2010 could easily do the same. We hope…

  30. absolutely agree with you there not-greg, FIFA 08 was like a revelation (even though almost every goal was from close range) even though I’d played the relevant Pro Evo to death when I decided to give it a pop after hearing some good things.
    I have my fingers crossed for PES2010 but I can’t help feeling that Konami made it easy for EA to provide such a bolt from the blue back in 08… the playing field has certainly changed in such a short time and Konami have a HUGE amount of catching up to do, for all FIFA 09’s faults

  31. Chris—I had that for a while in FIFA08 (and 09). Scoring most goals from close range is one of the main symptoms of trying to play the new FIFA like the old PES. Eventually you give up trying the long-range and medium-range shots and just settle for tap-ins from 2 yards. I know, I’ve been there. But there is another way, and I have found it (again, after forgetting it a few times). I won’t say too much now but there could be another long-range FIFA goals special coming later in the week…

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