We Love Golf
So do Camelot's Takahashi brothers, luckily.
Japanese developer Camelot embodies a basic logical disconnect that we've been nursing: we were aware that a studio called Camelot was responsible for RPGs like Shining Force and Golden Sun, and we were aware that a studio called Camelot developed the original Everybody's Golf and subsequently Mario Golf, but what we hadn't ever quite put together was the fact that it was the same Camelot responsible for both - a one-team studio whose CV bounces between the poles of epic RPGs and light-hearted but deceptively deep golf games.
Right now, the studio is finishing off the Western version of its new, Wii-exclusive golf game, We Love Golf - an outing which will look familiar to anyone who's played Everybody's Golf, but whose Wii control system sets it apart from anything else. Acknowledging (at last!) that swinging a Wiimote doesn't actually feel like swinging a golf club, the game drops the idea of emulating a "natural" swing, opting for a more precise system that allows you to set swing parameters with the remote and then simply match the timing and angle of an on-screen swing to hit the shot.
The system belies the complexity of the game, which brims with courses, tournaments and options, including a fully realised online mode that allows you to collect the scalps (well, badges) of your rivals in a gallery of victories. Plus, being a Capcom-published game, you also get to play as characters hailing from everything from Street Fighter through Dark Stalkers to Zack & Wiki - once you've unlocked the appropriate costumes, of course. We hooked up with Hiroyuki and Shugo Takahashi - brothers - over a video link from Japan to play a few rounds (we lost - miserably) and find out more about We Love Golf, and how the team behind Shining Force has become one of the world's best golf game developers. And since they pretty much spoke to us as one, so they do here.
The Wii userbase is a "lighter" userbase than some of the other systems, and there are a whole lot of golf games out there that are designed to be easily picked up and played - that you can just grab really quickly and have a little bit of fun with. We didn't want to make that kind of game - we really didn't feel that that was our role. We didn't really want to make one of those games that are pretty much only for people who have never touched games before, or a game that's just aimed at your grandmother, where you can give the controller to her and let her play it. We do think we're good at making games that are easy to get into, but which also show you from the start how deep and how far you can go into the game. It's really a deep game, we feel, while still being quite accessible right from the beginning. That's probably the biggest difference.
We also didn't think we needed to make a game that just lets the player swing the remote control to play golf. There are already other games that do that. All of our games are designed for people who don't just want to pick it up and play for half an hour. We make our games for people who want to get a bit more playtime and a bit more depth out of their games.
It's not that we don't want to make a game for light users - we think that a light user can get a lot out of We Love Golf, and we definitely think that a beginner can pick it up and have a lot of fun. It's just that we're better at putting depth into games. We're really happy that we've been able to hit both of those areas with this game.