Three Fields Entertainment, the studio founded by the creators of Burnout, has announced its first game: Dangerous Golf.
Dangerous Golf is due out as a download game on the PlayStation Store, the Xbox Store and Steam in May 2016.
Alex Ward, who co-founded Criterion Games in 2000 then, after leaving EA, co-founded Three Fields Entertainment in 2014, told Eurogamer Dangerous Golf is a bit like Burnout's wonderful Crash Mode.
In it you attempt to smash up four locations (a petrol station, a kitchen, a palace ballroom and a medieval castle), while performing trick shots for high scores. You can turn your golf ball into a bomb and set off what's called your "SmashBreaker". The destructive power of the ball increases as it heats up.
Ward, alongside fellow former Criterion developer Chris Roberts, created Crash Mode back in 2002. Both are working on Dangerous Golf at TFE.
"Burnout Crash Mode came from watching people try and play the racing and screwing up," Ward said. "I think we'd seen a Flash game online where you could roll a car down a hill. It was like bowling.
"Crash Mode with a golf ball is probably pretty apt."
Like Burnout's Crash Mode, Dangerous Golf has turn-based couch co-op, as well as online multiplayer.
"We love couch co-op," Ward said. "Not many people do it. If you had fun playing that stuff, hopefully you'll have fun playing this one. It's got a lot more surprises in it and a bit more depth."
Dangerous Golf features "true co-op", in that it takes place in the same in-game scene, which Criterion was unable to achieve on the PS2 back in 2002 due to technical limitations.
"Back then we were limited to turn-based stuff," Ward explained. "In the co-op mode in this game you can play with your wife in the same scene. So you're truly playing together and you have one score. So if you go first and you get 47,900, she's then carrying on in that scene you've smashed."
While Dangerous Golf rekindles memories of Burnout's Crash Mode, cult classic arcade-style basketball game NBA Jam was also an inspiration.
"Setting the ball on fire had to be a part of it," Ward said. "We started with golf is boring, golfers are boring and golf games can be boring, unless it's Leaderboard Golf on the Commodore 64, which was awesome. So we said, what's a bit of Burnout, a bit of Black and a bit of NBA Jam? What does that look like on next-generation hardware? That's how it started."
TFE used Unreal Engine 4 to power Dangerous Golf's destruction physics. You can "paint" the
environments with physically simulated liquids, the developer said.
"We're British. It's very much in our style. It's a bit of a punk sports game," Ward said.
"Burnout was the world's first punk driving game, really. Black was a punk shooting game. I was a bit too young, but it was a big influence on my sister. My family, we like the music and we like the style. We think that's what great British games can be about."
TFE said Dangerous Golf is "just the beginning of a series of games that will focus on speed, danger, excitement and destruction". Does that include a Burnout-style game?
"We'd love to make a spiritual successor to our racing games at some point," Ward said.
"Right now we're focused on Dangerous Golf and getting that done. It's our first game from this company, so it's everything to us. So we're just focused on that. There's a team of 10 of us. Three of us got together and pooled our life savings to have a crack at doing this. We're privately owned and funded. Four of us work for nothing. We've put our lives, our heart and soul, and our passion on the line to do this. Hopefully we can find an audience and be successful, and if we can, then we'd absolutely make a driving game, because we know exactly what to do."