What does the latest Tiger Woods game have in store? We clubbed Dave Woldman (the game's lead designer) with a five iron till he revealed all...
What innovations and improvements have you made since last year's version?
Dave Woldman: The detail levels have really come on in a big way on the next-gen platforms. We've doubled the game's content, doubled the courses, more than doubled the characters and tripled the game modes. Aside from the huge jump in course content, we've also reinforced Tiger with the UCAP technology, which can generate as near to photo realistic models as any other game out there. It's going to set a new benchmark in visual quality. Every facial expression and mannerism that you associate with Tiger in the real world will be recreated here.
Likewise, with another year of crowd work, you'll see the crowd move with you as you play, cheer for you and call your name, run the courses with you, react more believably and of course have the impact collision that people got such a kick out of last year.
Can you tell us a bit about the new feature called True Aim?
Dave Woldman: It's a landing area circle that predicts the landing area for the ball. The larger the club you use, the larger the possible landing area will be. We're hoping this brings back a bit more of a challenge to the series as a lot of people found the last version too easy. As you increase your accuracy throughout your career, this circle will get progressively smaller. We think that this, along with the refinements we've made to the swing system, reinforces the overall gameplay.
Will there be any exclusive Xbox Live content?
Dave Woldman: We're having downloadable and unlockable content. Rather than pay for progression, you'll be able to use your Xbox Live points straight out of the box to unlock everything. We want to reward you online for things like trying all of the courses or playing all of the mini-games.
How are you handling the game's career mode this time around?
Dave Woldman: The career progression is going to be completely different this year. What we've done in previous years is out the door. The training facility is going to be key to the career mode progression. You go and play an event and when the event has finished, you're given mini-games to play such as accuracy and power mini-games. If you complete them successfully your stats are automatically going to grow and your character is going to grow dynamically. It's no longer going to be about earning tokens or dollars. The drills and the fun mini-games are going to drive your career progression.
Will we be able to compete in the Ryder Cup?
Dave Woldman: We don't have anything like this on next-gen, but we do have an equivalent called The Team Tour on current-gen, which is a very similar competition. You build a team, assemble a crew, then you have a big team-based worldwide event.
Have you made any changes to the Gamebreaker meter?
Dave Woldman: We've taken it out. We felt that it was more suited to a street version of the game. With the stripped down HUD we're focussing much more on the visual, aesthetic and tournament atmosphere and doing things like picture-in-picture presentation rather than features like the Gamebreaker, or really over-the-top animations.
Are you returning to the game's more realistic roots because the previous version didn't really appeal to the mass market?