EA Sports' Tiger Woods series has turned into a juggernaut on the home consoles thanks to its mix of accessible gameplay and impressive visuals. In our second series of question-and-answer sessions with the game's developers, we'll cover the inclusion of some of the greats in golfing and the way they've been incorporated into the game. Senior producer Sam Player fills us in on all of the details.
GameSpot: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 marks the first time ever that legends of golf Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Seve Ballesteros have been in a video game. How did you go about creating their likenesses?
Sam Player: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 marks the first time that all five of these true legends of the sport have been together in one video game. We chose to depict these historic figures as they looked and played during the primes of their careers, so we went back and studied old video footage and photographs--some from the personal collections of the legends themselves--to ensure that we captured each of them just right. Everything that appears in the game comes from this extensive research and attention to detail.
GS: Each legend had his own style of play when he dominated the sport. Were these traits captured in the game?
SP: Absolutely. Each player had his own special talents. (Well, they mostly were good at everything. They are "legends," you know.) How we showcased these talents is especially evident in the legend scenarios section of the game, where we put you in groups of situations that each legend specialized in escaping from. For example, Seve Ballesteros was the master of the recovery shot. So in his legend scenarios, you're faced with tough shots from out of the rough, from bunkers, or from even in the trees, and you have to figure out the best way to get the ball in the hole.
GS: Legend Pursuit has replaced the World Tour in this year's installment. How does Legend Pursuit work?
SP: The Legend Tour is a group of match play challenges against every golfer in the game. Each legend is considered the "boss" of his own region, and each region may have five or six challengers whom you must defeat to meet the legend in the finals of that region. Once all five legends are defeated, you have a chance to play our own legend, Tiger Woods. Defeat him and you'll become a legend yourself.
What's also unique about the Legend Tour is that you may play one of the golf courses more than once along the way. But each time you play one of these courses, it'll become "Tiger Proofed" to a greater degree, which makes each course considerably more difficult. So it's never the same challenge twice.
GS: Is it true that Arnie or The Golden Bear will actually come out of retirement to challenge your character? How does this work?
SP: The challenges you receive from the legends relate to our "Dream 18" feature. One of the things that legends of golf do in real life is design golf courses. In our game, we allow you to design your own "Dream 18," which you do by "Tiger-Proofing" the courses in the game and by choosing your favorite 18 holes for your course. Your course is given a "prestige rating" based on how you construct it. When your prestige rating reaches certain thresholds, you will impress our legends, and they'll issue you challenges to play against you on your course!
GS: What can you tell us about the "Hall of Legends?"
SP: The Hall of Legends is a special museum where you can view all of your accomplishments from the game. You can find it in the "My Legend Pursuit" option off of the main menu. Each legend has his own wing that will be opened for viewing once you defeat him in the Legend Tour.
GS: Thanks for your time, Sam.