At a pre-TGS press event, Sony Computer Entertainment showcased a handful of its first-party games, including Extermination, Dark Cloud, and the recently announced Hot Shots Golf 3. Claphanz, the developers of Hot Shots Golf 2, will be working on this latest installment in the series. The company took over the development duties from Camelot, who created the original game. Hot Shots Golf 3 will include six courses and fifteen characters. According to SCEA, the characters in the North American version of the game will be visually different from the Japanese version. They will have a more realistic look and will have an eclectic visual style, when compared to the big headed, anime-style characters that are traditional in the series.
Modes of play in Hot Shots Golf 3 will include the familiar tournament, stroke play, training, and match play options. Claphanz also plans to incorporate a network tournament option in the game. However, instead of being able to play online in real-time, players will be able to post their best scores on the game's Web site. For example, players can download a personalized code from the site and enter that data into the game. After playing a specific course, players are given another code, which can be uploaded to the Web site. That information is then entered into an online tournament where, naturally, the player with the highest score wins. Sony plans to launch the first Hot Shots Golf 3 online tournament in Japan within the year--new competitions will follow every week. Similar tournaments will be set up in Europe and North America.
The courses in Hot Shots Golf 3 are fictional and are based in such locations as Japan, Hawaii, and the Grand Canyon. Other venues include courses based loosely on real life courses such as Augusta and St. Andrews. On the course, the gameplay system is very similar to the previous games in the series. As the swing meter moves across the bottom of the screen, players have to tap a face button twice near both ends of the meter. One new feature in this latest game in the series is that the length of the meter itself will vary according to the lie of the ball--a bad lie will yield a shorter meter, while a fairway lie will show the full length meter. Also new to the game is the ability to buy capsules at the pro shop that are filled with a wide range of animals. Players can buy the capsules and release the animals onto the courses themselves. In doing so, players will encounter such creatures as snakes, frogs, and the Loch Ness monster while playing those courses.
Hot Shots Golf 3 has been in development for a little over one year. It will be released in Japan this summer. A specific North American release date has not been determined at this time.