Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 will have exclusive rights to render the home stadium of FC Barcelona, meaning that stadium won't be present in EA Sports' powerhouse FIFA series for just the second time since 2006.
Konami's exclusive rights to FC Barcelona cover only the stadium, not the team itself or its players, though the publisher did announce a "Premium Partner" agreement with the club, one of the best in Europe. That gives Konami "extensive access to the club's stars," for purposes within the game or in its marketing.
Moreover, it shows Konami still has an interest in developing console video games and paying real money for it, after gutting that catalogue in 2015 and leaving PES as the only console work in active development.
"This is a real statement of intent for us," Tomotada Tashiro, the president of Konami Digital Entertainment, said in a statement. "This partnership will deliver access to the very best players in the modern game and to one of the world's most respected and ambitious clubs."
Camp Nou had been a fixture in the EA Sports FIFA series, present through all of the FIFA series' run on the past two console generations except FIFA 13, when EA Sports and the club couldn't reach a licensing deal.
Last month, EA Sports announced it had rights to Japan's J1 League for the first time in franchise history. The league and its clubs had previously been exclusive to Pro Evolution Soccer. The FIFA series also controls exclusive rights to the Barclays Premier League, though one of its clubs, Manchester United, will appear in PES 2017 as it has in the series for some time.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 launches Sept. 13 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.