What’s next for golf video games, from Tiger’s new contract to (hopefully) EA Sports
The calendar has turned, 2022 is officially upon us and the New Year promises a new era in the game of golf.
Last year, the PGA Tour unveiled a any new license agreement with EA Sports, reviving the studio’s dormant golf franchise after a hiatus dating back to 2015.
This new EA title will (eventually) enter a gaming market that already includes a branded Tour series from 2K Sports. This franchise grabbed the headlines last year, partnering with a certain 15-time major winner and former face of EA Sports’ PGA Tour: Tiger Woods.
With not one but two Tour licensed titles set to compete for player time, attention, and currency – virtual and otherwise – let’s take a look at what’s to come, and when it could happen.
EA Sports is back
EA Sports has been the dominant force in sports games for decades, producing popular titles like Madden, FIFA, and NHL each year. But EA left the golf scene after Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour release in 2015. McIlroy initially looked like a revival for the PGA Tour franchise following Woods’ exit as the game’s leader, but the initial release seemed unfinished, is fell flat, and was never followed by a sequel.
Six years later, after relinquishing its place in the golf world to longtime competitor 2K, EA Sports reappeared in March 2021, announcing plans to relaunch the PGA Tour franchise.
“EA Sports and the PGA Tour have together created some of the most memorable golf video game experiences, and we couldn’t be more excited to expand our sports portfolio with a new golf title on golf equipment. new generation, “EA Sports EVP and GM Cam Weber said in a statement,” Our team of golf enthusiasts meticulously recreate the world’s best courses such as Pebble Beach, and we look forward to giving fans the opportunity to compete on some of the PGA Tour’s most iconic courses and winning the FedExCup. “
EA has since announced agreements to feature the four major men’s championships and their 2022 venues – the Masters at Augusta National, the PGA Championship in Southern Hills, the US Open at the Country Club (Brookline), the Open Championship in St. Andrews. – The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, LPGA’s Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club and the three FedExCup stops at TPC Southwind, Wilmington Country Club and East Lake.
An FAQ section on the game’s website also confirms three other major championship sites – Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Kiawah – a career mode and “several amateur events,” including the US Amateur. A September press release further promised the inclusion of stars from the PGA Tour and LPGA and the incorporation of ShotLink and TrackMan data.
This series of promising and specific details was followed by an ambiguous social media post in early November, stating that EA was “shifting the launch date.” The game’s release, initially scheduled for spring 2022, has indeed been “postponed”, according to GamesRadar, with the developer promising “more information on our launch plans in the coming months.”
When it arrives, the game will be available on “next generation platforms”.
ICYMI and Tiger Woods signed agreement with 2K
Tiger Woods is sort of an expert at making his own comeback; it is not surprising that this extends to simulations of golf as well.
On March 13 of last year, 2K announced that it had entered into a “exclusive and long-term partnershipWith Woods including the “rights to have his name and image appear exclusively in the PGA TOUR 2K franchise,” of which Woods is now executive director and consultant.
“I can’t wait to make my return to the video game landscape, and with 2K and HB Studios, I’ve found the right partners to make it happen,” Woods said in a statement. “I am honored to participate in this opportunity and look forward to sharing my expertise and ideas as we build the future of golf video games together. ”
This is big news for the legion of golfers who made the Tiger-branded EA Series a hit from 1999 to 2013, but the announcement naturally went unnoticed, less than a month after the horrific crash of Woods car in California. It was then eclipsed by much less dire circumstances just two weeks later, when EA announced the return of the Woods series once featured.
When EA took a step back from McIlroy, it was Canadian developer HB Studios that stepped forward. Released in 2015 and 2017, The Golf Club and The Golf Club 2 were more niche course design tools than what Full Tour branded golf simulation fans previously expected from EA. That dynamic changed a year later with The Golf Club 2019 now “with PGA Tour” and now published by 2K Sports, previously known for its NBA and WWE offerings.
What followed in 2020 was the PGA Tour 2K21, that long-awaited full-fledged golf simulation with Justin Thomas on its cover. With 15 actual Tour stops at launch, the likenesses of a handful of Tour pros, and the inclusion of equipment and apparel manufacturers, 2K has finally returned to golf players what they had already received from EA Sports years before.
What separated 2K’s offering from the old EA title – and what numbers to do so in the future – is its course design tool, the basis of the entire series dating back to The Golf Club. 2K users have the ability to create, share, and play custom designs on the game’s online servers – or recreate the game’s most iconic tracks. While EA has once again officially licensed Augusta National, as it l ‘first done in Tiger Woods ’12, 2K users have (unofficially) bypassed Amen Corner for years. Bucket list sites like Augusta, Cypress Point, Pine Valley, Merion, Oakmont and many more are easily accessible in 2K thanks to dedicated users who painstakingly replicated these routes down to individual blades of grass.
What the 2K series will look like in the future with Woods’ involvement for now remains a mystery. Main producer of 2K21 Shaun West told me in 2020 that the studio sees the benefits of a two-year production run, which could potentially point to a 2022 release. 2K spokesperson told Gamespot in July of last year: “The next iteration of the PGA Tour 2K franchise will be bigger and better in every way. We’re excited to tell you more, but until then we continue to add new multiplayer content to the PGA Tour 2K21 so our fans can join in and play together today.
Could we be in store for a Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2K23?
Whatever the name of the new 2K title and every time these games are released, golf fans will have not one but two deals to follow in the months to come.