column

The Sports Desk – A New Look At The Golf Club 2

by Matthew Kato on Feb 06, 2017 at 09:00 AM

The Golf Club franchise has redefined video game golf. The first title not only created an enthusiastic community of course architects with its creation tools, it also supported that community by building on the core game with updates instead of a perfunctory yearly release. In short, it took on video game sports heavyweight EA Sports and won the round with a better product.

[Note: I've updated the entry with the game's just-announced pre-order details. Also be sure to check out some screens in the gallery at the bottom.]

Now that developer HB Studios is preparing to release The Golf Club 2 this spring (PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One) we'll see if the studio can take the next step with the series, build on the first title's solid gameplay foundation without a swing HUD, grow the career mode (which was added in a post-release update for the first Golf Club), and continue to spur the talents of its course creators.

HB Studios debuted the game at E3 last year, but has been rather quiet since then. Today, however, we have a new dev diary-style trailer for the game showing and discussing its core tenets, as well as a Q&A dive into some of the details courtesy of producer Shaun West.

One of the subjects addressed are Societies, which are central to the entire game whether online or off. These are your ticket to a big clubhouse, in-game competitive wagers between Societies, and attracting the crowds and prestige of major tournaments.

The video also offers a glimpse at the revamped course creator, which not only contains new objects, but also tools that HB says makes the whole process easier. And if you have already created a masterpiece in the first Golf Club, don't worry, you can import those creations and take advantage of the updated look and new course creation features of The Golf Club 2. 

In addition to the video, producer Shaun West graciously answered some questions we had about Societies, the new tempo swing, course creation, and more.

Will the game release simultaneously on all platforms? Is there any cross-platform transferring of user-created courses between the platforms?
Yes to both. The game releases on all platforms simultaneously, and when a course is published it will be shared across all platforms for users to enjoy.

How does the game handle bringing your offline Society online? Does the entire Society (clubhouse, etc.) go online, or is it just the money that transfers?
The only things that carry over from Career Mode to Societies are your earnings and any player customizations that have been purchased. The progression of a Society will evolve as it grows with members and more prestigious events.

What can a player do if they have trouble recruiting other players? Will that slow their society/clubhouse progress?
As your Society continues to grow you will be able to upgrade your clubhouse, the number of events and majors that build a season, and the payouts players will receive. If users are having a hard time bringing members into their Society, one of the best ways to get recognition will be to join other Societies and compete in Society vs Society. As you and your members help your Society climb to the top of the leaderboards you will create a brand that other users will want to be a part of and represent.

How one-to-one is a TGC1-created course in GC2 after it's imported? Will there be any physical features or objects missing?
When importing a legacy course from TGC1 into the new course designer, there will be minimal touchups required. Due to updates we have made to new assets via either improvements or replacements, there will be the odd case that an object needs to be rotated to get it back in its original position. Overall, we have found that the import process is headache-free and works very well.
All TGC2 features will be able to be used on an imported course before it's republished. We strongly encourage users to take advantage of our new tools, as well, before they republish. We have so many amazing creations from TGC1, but the additions we have added to the sequel will bring those courses to the next level. We're very excited to see what kind of improvements are made to the imported courses and the new masterpieces to come when TGC2 is released.

Can you give an example of an aspect of course creation that is much easier in GC2 that may have come from a community request?
There have been many great designers who have created multiples of the same course to create different pin and tee locations in TGC1. Now, in TGC2, you will be able to set up to five tees and pin locations through the course designer. These options can then be set through course details when playing a course or when setting up an event for a Society season. This will create a much more streamlined process for designers, and is going to play well with custom events.

When online Societies are playing against each other, in terms of matchmaking, does it matter if the Societies are of different member sizes or have more money in the bank?
When competing in Society vs Society there will be multiple leaderboards for each event. Depending on the number of members you have completing in that event, your Society will be grouped in a corresponding leaderboard. All Societies will be free to complete in any event that's being held, if they can meet the criteria set by the hosting Society.

The game's debut dev blog mentions having three tiers of swing difficulty. I also heard at E3 that there are three sets of clubs (normal, pro, and tour). Are these mixed and matched at will? Is the game's increasing difficulty in career mode related to these options, or is it that your competition gets harder the more you progress?
Users will have the freedom to choose the club set (swing difficulty) that they would like to use. When choosing your swing difficulty, it's a risk vs. reward option. As you progress through the club sets, shots will require more precision and solid tempo, but the reward can be more distance. The choice of club set does not directly impact the difficulty of AI players in your career mode.

THE GOLF CLUB 2 PRE-ORDER DETAILS

Pre-order the game for $49.99 and get the Day 1 edition, which includes (text from publisher Maximum Games):

  • Moneybags – Save time and get rich quick with an instant payout that will boost your career and give you serious purchasing power
  • Elite Club – Make your competitors jealous and stand out among the crowd with an exclusive 24K solid gold driver
  • Premier Clubhouse – Gain access to an exclusive high society clubhouse for you and your friends
  • Heirloom Apparel – Play in style with a throwback outfit from the golden age of golf
  • Elite Emblem – Add class to your Society logo with a signature badge

Missed some of the previous Sports Desk entries? Take a look at the past installments via our Hub page by clicking on the banner below.

Have a suggestion or comment? Put it in the comments section below, send me an email, or reach me on twitter at @mattkato.

 

THE TICKER
A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week.

EA Announces Madden to Use Frostbite, Delivers Updates On NBA Live, Skate 4, NFS & UFC 

EA Sports' Super Bowl Prediction With Madden 17 Hits & Misses

Mutant League Football Trying to Kickstart Online Multiplayer Mode

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Gets Its Third Free Update On February 9th
Includes updates of player faces, Legend players, classic kits, and more.

EA Teams Up With ESPN, NFL Network & Univision For eSports Broadcasting
This includes the FIFA Ultimate Team Championship series and the Madden NFL EA Major tournaments 

Motorsport Manager Now Supports Steam Workshop, Allows Player-Created Liveries
The dev is also running a livery contest for £1,000. For more on the game, check out this preview.