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PGA Tour 2K21 Preview

/ Aug 6th, 2020 No Comments

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In the summer of 2014, I met with a developer from HB Studios about their upcoming game, The Golf Club. The preview build was set up in a nondescript corner of the Xbox booth in the middle of several rows of independently-developed titles. Flash forward to 2020, and I’m in a Zoom call with dozens of press and content creators meeting with HB Studios Creative Director Josh Muise and Senior Producer Shaun West about their upcoming game, PGA Tour 2K21.

A lot has changed for HB Studios since the first The Golf Club released in 2014. The success of the game and followup titles The Golf Club 2 and The Golf Club 2019 led to a partnership with one of the biggest publishers of sports titles, 2K Games. Now officially under the 2K umbrella, HB Studios is excited about the future of the franchise.

“We couldn’t ask for a better partnership,” Muise said. “We have the support of immensely skilled counterparts at every level … and we all want to see the game of golf grow.”

The relationship, Muise said, was born out of building a product the right way, and that is something that has not changed for PGA Tour 2K21. The game’s course designer, which has been one of the most attractive features in previous iterations, is back and allows more freedom than ever before. Rather than locking assets behind specific themes, players can now use all design assets across all themes. With thousands of tools available for course creation, players will get to unleash their full creative potential in PGA Tour 2K21, regardless of whether that leads to realistic golf paradises or wacky mini-golf fun-lands. 

The Golf Club players will also be very familiar with PGA Tour 2K21’s shot system, but there are some major tweaks and additions that make the new iteration accessible to casual golfers and enhance the experience for pros. ProVision and Distance Control, which allows players to set up intended partial swings, helps experienced players take their game to the next level, while a Training mode provides newcomers the chance to find the perfect swing. For additional personalization, there are six difficulty settings across all modes in PGA Tour 2K21. Ramping up the difficulty reduces feedback from ProVision and other swing features but also rewards players with more skill points and XP. 

Muise admitted that working with 2K opened up some opportunities, especially with licensing. It is especially evident in Career Mode, which features more than 30 events and 15 real life courses mixed with some fictional ones. Players create a custom MyPlayer avatar and compete against real life PGA pros. As is typical in a 2K Career Mode, players will have to balance the competitive and business aspects of their career, managing relationships with potential sponsors such as Adidas, Malbon Golf, Under Armour and more. 

With the addition of pro player likenesses, including cover athlete Justin Thomas, Cameron Champ and Sergio Garcia, comes the Rivalry system. As players compete on the PGA Tour in Career Mode, their performance will be rated against their pro rival. Besting PGA pros will net players rewards such as new gear and Rivalry Points. 

Each of the pro golfers included in PGA Tour 2K21 had their face completely scanned for accurate modeling, and the added realism goes beyond the pros. All 15 real-life courses were meticulously scanned and recreated to deliver an accurate virtual representation of teeing off at TPC Sawgrass, Quail Hollow Club and more. Luke Elvy and Rich Beem have landed their voices to the broadcast booth to go along with the “man on the ground” John McCarthy, delivering a dynamic, TV-like experience.

PGA Tour 2K21 is set to release Aug. 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia.

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Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom
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