EA’s PGA Tour franchise first began way back in 1993, since then we’ve seen the series cerement itself as the number one video game for golf fans. Every year since we’ve been treated to an annual release of a PGA Tour game - that was until 2014, when EA skipped on a release for the first time in the series history.
The key reason for this gap year was obvious: Tiger Wood’s name would be dropped from all upcoming releases. It's hardly surprising, and it was definitely on the cards for a number of years now. Tiger hasn't performed as he once did, his name was tarnished and his golfing career is coming to an end. This has resulted in EA having to find the best alternative for the brand's future along with some other careful considerations.
For many gamers, it's easy to criticise any golf-sim. After all, where's the action? Your typical video game offers action, adrenaline and thrill. However, golf is a genre which offers the complete opposite, providing a peaceful experience: Calm, birds singing, lakes, waterfalls, and more therapeutic features - the very recipe for lower cortisol levels and relaxation. However, EA are ready to make things somewhat more appealing to the masses this time around.
It's about time that we see a decent golf game hit the PS4, and the good news is that you won't have long to wait. Your only choice to date was The Golf Club, which provides a far from perfect golfing experience, but has given us all a taster of just what EA can achieve with the PGA Tour franchise on PlayStation 4.
The Future’s Rory McIlroy
Tiger's brand has provided the series with plenty of excitement. However, the roar from Tiger has now got to be replaced. Who would be the perfect replacement? For those hardcore golfing fans, you'll be pleased to learn that Rory McIlroy will be the new ambassador for this franchise. Rory, a Northern Irish professional golfer, has already become the new king of the golf world, crowned World Number One and a four-time major champion.
The birds are tweeting and the lakes are glistening... The graphics of a golf game usually look stunning, generally because all focus is on the environment and little else. Golfing is a sport which literally places you within some of the most stunning areas of nature. It's to be expected that Rory McIlroy PGA Tour will deliver the finest visuals, taking over from what The Golf Club has already offered. EA's Frostbite Engine will be used and is expected to deliver the very best visuals, also expect some of the world's most famous courses to look more realistic than ever.
I've always wondered how EA could provide a new dimension to gameplay for this franchise, which would help attract a whole new audience. Whilst we've seen new features and progression over the years, the franchise has always seemed to play it safe. However, this is all set to change with this release. EA aren't just changing the brand, they're also adding a new option to gameplay. This shouldn't worry the majority either. Yes, of course, you'll still get the most realistic golf-sim around, with precise courses, etc. However, how does playing golf on a Battlefield sound? Perhaps EA are quite literally trying to redefine Crazy Golf. That's because you'll quite literally be able to do just that with this release thanks to their new feature named 'Fantasy Courses'. This new feature is sure to raise an eye brow for those who have never tried out golf - it adds a little more action the recipe.
Time to get excited? Absolutely! Expect a totally new golfing experience combined with a fresh brand. Just like EA's latest Battlefield first-person-shooter release, they are currently exploring a more creative and unexplored approach, which can only be admired. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is on course to be a hole in one.