We're just about to get AO International Tennis this month, meaning players can get into the spirit of the game just in time for summer, but we had some questions about the title, and who better to answer them than Big Ant Studios' founder and CEO Ross Symons. We recently asked him all about the tennis experience, and below you can find the entire Q&A which should get you ready to hit the court later this month.
We'd like to know more about the ambitions of the game. How long was it in development?
We have been working on ideas for a tennis game for a number of years now, as it's a sport that the entire team is very passionate about - I've actually attended every AO Semi-Final and Final for a couple of decades. So, when the opportunity to produce our first tennis game came to us, we jumped at the opportunity.
Since you developed cricket and rugby games before, is a tennis simulation simpler or more complicated to design?
Every sports game is complex in its own way. For example, tennis is a game of millimetres at times, and so the physics engine needs to be absolutely spot on in terms of measuring movement to the most tiny of distances.
I wouldn't say that any sport is any more or less complex to design. Just like it's not easy to pick up and play any sport in real life, because they all require different skillsets in order to become good at them and in this case, represent them well.
How do you explain the lack of tennis games on the current generation of consoles?
It has been a while since the last simulation tennis game, hasn't it? One of the reasons we wanted to do a tennis game ourselves is that we've been wanting to play one. As for reasons why, I couldn't give you a definitive answer. The big publishers and developers clearly decided to focus on other sports for one reason or another, and it's taken a while for opportunities to pop up for other developers to step in and pick up the baton.
What grand Slams and Masters with official licence besides AO are included in the game?
AO International Tennis is licensed exclusively for the grand slam tournament of the Australian Open. However, in career mode it's possible to tour the world and play in all of the real grand slam cities, and as we've got a wealth of customisation and creation options - from stadia and venues through to competitions - you can really tailor the game to look and play the way you want it.
How did Rafa Nadal or Angelique Kerber contribute to the game?
In addition to lending us their likenesses as cover athletes and in-game playable characters, both Rafa and Angelique have been really great at helping us make sure that we've got their authentic play styles, uniforms, and other elements that help enhance the realism of the game. And Rafa was generous enough to let us also include his amazing training academy as a properly licensed court in the game. Along with that, we have had access to the shot data of every stroke that every current player has ever made at the Australian Open.
Will you support the game with more players and tournaments in the future? And will you update player stats based on current form from time to time?
At Big Ant we take a great deal of pride in our commitment to supporting our games for as long as possible, and AO International Tennis will be no different in that regard. I can't talk about what we might do with the game at this stage, but I can say that all future support will be free to our users.