EA Sports PGA Tour devs explain innovative online tournaments & rewards
EA Sports PGA Tour is looking to raise the bar regarding simulated golf, and the devs once again sat down with us to discuss their excitement for the upcoming project.
What a perfect time to be a golf fan at the minute. In the real world, we’ve already had Scottie Scheffler kickstart a promising season with a Players’ Championship win, it’s the beginning of the Majors season with The Masters now on the horizon, and EA Sports PGA Tour is going to release alongside it.
The golfing world might already be crammed with the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, the LPGA Tour, and many more, but the addition of EA Sports PGA Tour will give fans the chance to become a pro themself.
I’ve been lucky enough to chat with lead EA Sports PGA Tour devs Ben Ramsour and Craig Penner for another in-depth interview to hammer home and understand the importance of this game, what it means, and what they’re most excited about.
Putting passion into their work
The immediate vibe throughout the interview is one of excitement, eagerness, and a general sense of feeling that the team has created something special with EA Sports PGA Tour in 2023.
“This is kind of our baby,” is how Penner describes the game. It’s very much that, as development has been ongoing for several years now with a ton of work going on behind-the-scenes to deliver the meticulous levels of detail we’ve already seen in the pre-release trailers.
Smaller features that have gone unnoticed such as the accurate implementation of lateral hazards to ensure the real rules of golf are followed stringently, to the ability to tinker with the length and firmness of the rough.
“We make sure that that the parameters the players can change are still within the realism bounds of that course. So you’re not gonna be able to change a Harbor Town into a St. Andrews, we’re being cognizant of the attributes or characteristics of the course. We’ve gone to a very high level of depth when we’ve been on the grounds of these courses,” Penner added.
As we’ve already alluded to, EA Sports PGA Tour looks to be a colossal step forward in terms of golf gameplay with a ton of shot types, 30 licensed courses (with more on the way), official PGA Tour pros, and in-depth career mode.
They did provide some interesting details on player creation too: “You will have to make a choice, there is a max skill level which aligns you relatively to what the top licensed golfer is in the game. So you will have to make decisions and decide ‘If I’m gonna max out power, I’m going to have to sacrifice something’.”
So, you can temper those expectations of creating Super Tiger Woods circa 2003, but you certainly have the opportunity to create a golfer tailor-made (pun intended) to suit your preferences.
“I can’t wait to play with my friends”
Ramsour made it abundantly clear from the get-go that the social aspect of EA Sports PGA Tour is one of the game’s greatest strengths. He described how difficult it was moving away from friends many years ago, and how the game’s online aspect is perfect for bridging this gap.
“I can’t wait to play with my friends, moving to Orlando was a really hard thing, so with our 16-player mass, multiplayer online, I can’t wait to dust off and play those with some of my friends who have been out of games for a little bit. I’m looking forward to the social element.”
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They explained how they’re “excited to see millions of people experiencing it” and one of the main underpins for the game’s online mode is the intriguing new simultaneous tournaments.
One will feature a large lobby of players all competing in real-time, everyone being able to see each other’s shots, and a winner being declared at the end with instant rewards. The other focuses on “asynchronous tournaments made up of daily, weekly, or seasonal tournaments.”
As well as “exclusive rewards” and a high spot on a leaderboard, we all know that there’s the principle of pure pride and honor on the line when you step into the online golfing realm.
Authenticity is the heart and soul of EA Sports PGA Tour
From the different cuts of grass on specific courses to the subtle differences in golf swings, EA have gone all out to let everyone know that the effort and polish in their game are unrivaled.
Ramsour explained how he’s “an audio guy” and how he wants players to feel immersed in every facet of the game’s fundamentals: “We worked with the famous composer Jonesie, to reimagine the Master’s theme, modernizing it so that the broadcast experience feels new and fresh.
“Our goal is to immerse users to feel what it’s like to be at these courses and be a major champion. We did a whole session where we hit all the different club types to record the sound effects, so again, it’s hyperrealism.”
If you thought that wasn’t enough, the team has also recorded hundreds of hours of commentator dialog with certain lines being incredibly rare, scenario-specific events that you may never encounter!
“I hit a shot recently that hit the wood around one of the greens and then it popped into the water and like, we had a line for that. I didn’t even remember recording it or being part of that, I was like, fanboying. I was like, holy cow. Like did he just say that?” humorously added Ramsour.
No one is going to be able to accuse EA of not stumping up time, effort, and honest hard work when it comes to the full release of EA Sports PGA Tour on August 7, 2023 – with Early Access commencing April 4.
With all the expectations and promise now weighing very heavily on the game’s – and the developers’ – shoulders, we’re on the verge of finding out whether or not the game will be able to make the cut.
For more on the game, check out if it’ll be coming to Xbox Game Pass, and if it will feature any form of cross-platform progression or crossplay.