Preview

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

EA Sports Debuts Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
by Matthew Kato on Mar 16, 2015 at 07:15 AM
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release:
Rating: Everyone
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

After taking a year off, EA Sports and developer EA Tiburon are back with their first new-gen PGA Tour title and a new cover star. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is set to come out in June on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We talked to a couple of the developers at the studio about what we can expect from this year's title and its superstar golfer, and don't miss the game's first gameplay trailer featuring Rory.

Designer Justin Patel and art director Peyton Duncan talked to us about Rory's involvement with the game and its new visual engine (Battlefield's Frostbite 3) via email.

How did you guys decide on Rory as the cover star?
Rory is truly an incredible talent and we're so happy that he's becoming such an integral part of the game. When you think of young players who really represent the future of the sport he's right at the top of the list. He's the type of player where if you're walking past a TV and a tournament is on as soon as you hear the announcers talk about him or see him getting ready to take a shot, you'll stop and watch no matter what you were doing before.

How embedded will Rory be in the game? Will there be, for instance, tutorials with him in it or skills challenges?
You will definitely be seeing Rory in a special capacity in-game. We'll be talking more about what exactly that means as we move toward launch, but we really wanted him to be more than a face on the box. He's been terrific to work with and has provided some great content that fans will get to experience when they check out the game.

So far the game has advertised some fantastical elements such as the Battlefield battleship on the course. Will these kinds of elements be restricted to certain courses, or will players be able to place objects like this in any environment in the game?
Fantasy courses have been a big part of the franchise going back over the last decade. However, there haven't been any new fantasy courses in quite some time. We are really excited about the new courses we've created, and we can't wait to share more details about them as we get closer to launch.

We've been told that the move to Frostbite will allow for a larger interactive area per hole. Does this larger "sandbox" offer an advantage to players besides expanding the OB markers, for instance?
Other than the OB areas, this will significantly speed up overall play as a course will load all at once and not from hole-to-hole. Historically each hole had to load individually, extending the play time as much as 15 minutes per 18-hole round. Additionally, the expanded area gives players more areas to explore. While exploring, who knows what you may find to use as an advantage? Cart paths, camera towers, and adjacent fairways are just a few things that may help you get to the hole in fewer strokes.

Would you say the ball interacts more with environments with the new engine? If so, would there be a problem with it hanging up or bouncing off of objects in the environment too much?
There's a lot more environment for the ball to interact with, and with that comes the potential to face some difficult shots if you stray too far from the fairway. If you're in too deep then we do have an unplayable lie option, which will allow you to move the ball out of trouble and take a stroke penalty.

Have you been able to offer up any improvements/additions to the engine?
Frostbite has provided us with a great foundation, and we continue to develop additional features in support of making a next-gen golf game. A few examples include 3D grass, more accurate physics, and a new crowd system to name a few.

As we move deeper into the generation, what would you point to as graphic improvements over last year's EA sports titles or even the golf game's initial showing last year?
When we showed the game last year at E3, it was our very first integration of art assets into Frostbite. At that time we were still early in development, and just starting to learn what they engine can do. Since then we've been able to really dig in and make some dramatic graphical leaps. Every visual element in the game is built from scratch, you won't see any reused assets from last-gen.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as we discover more about the title.