May 08, 2002 - Golf is the game your dad loved to watch on a Saturday afternoon. Sitting there in his boxers, gut exposed, he'd kick back a beer and enjoy the quiet serenity of Augusta International. Take that memory and toss it in a blender while playing a Misfits album at full blast. This is not your father's boring brand of golf; this is a game full of strippers, thugs, and Latin lotharios. Coming this June, Outlaw Golf will put the laughter back into golf. An over-the-top golf sim, Outlaw Golf features a full set of colorful golfers doing battle at the links in the most unusual golf course in America. Hypnotix' Mike Taramykin, the producer of Outlaw Golf, was good enough to answer a few of our questions.
IGN: What sets Outlaw Golf apart from other golf games?
Mike Taramykin: Well besides the obvious things like, strippers, convicts, and beatings, I would say that Outlaw Golf is unique in that it is the first golf game to incorporate the mental aspect of the sport. Whereas other games have concentrated exclusively on the physical aspects (such as swing power and accuracy) we have developed a Composure System that simulates the effects that a player's state of mind would have on his or her game. Just like in real life, when you are playing well it seems that the shots practically make themselves. But once you start slipping, then you are just as likely to play against yourself as you are your opponents. That's a very fundamental aspect of real golf, and we tried very hard to incorporate it into Outlaw Golf. And oh yeah, did I mention the strippers, convicts, and beatings?
IGN: How did you get Steve Carell to do the announcing and can you talk a bit about the voice over process?
MT: Well we were thinking really hard about the kind of announcer that we wanted for the game. Basically we wanted someone that's funny, twisted, and totally "out there" (kind of like the game.) Then one night while I was watching the Daily Show I realized that we wanted someone that sounds like Steve Carell. Since the Daily Show is produced in NY, we figured why not see if Steve was interested. Then a few phone calls later we were all set. The voice over process with Steve was great. Usually I am used to directing an actor to read their lines in a certain way, and it takes a little bit of work before we get there. In this case however all I had to do was tell Steve that sound like... Steve. I was also smart enough to let him adlib as much as he wanted and as a result we got some create commentary.
Nice replay huh..............
IGN: Could you explain how the confidence meter works, how it affects the game, and how it changes depending on your performance?
MT: Well the composure meter is quite simple actually. It's basically a point system that directly affects the size of your current club's sweet spot. The results of every shot are awarded a certain amount of points based on the outcome. Everyone starts out at even. If you hit a 300 yard drive into the middle of the fairway, then you would earn a certain amount of positive points. But if your second shot overshoots the green and ends up in a bunker, then you would lose points. When you max out on the positive points we say that you are in the zone and conversely you could also end up in the gutter. When you are in the zone, the sweet spot on your clubs will increase and small imperfections in your swing will probably be ignored. On the other hand when you are in the gutter, then not only will the sweet spot shrink, but we also add vibration to the controller during your backswing to further hinder your swing. Now the best way to get out of the gutter of course is to get your head back in the game and start making decent shots. But if that doesn't work then you could also vent a little frustration out on your caddy, and if you pull off a good beating then you can go directly from the gutter to the zone.
IGN: What was the biggest challenge you faced in making this game?
MT: I'd say that it was trying to find the perfect balance between an outrageously funny arcade game, and a super realistic sim.
IGN: What were some of the inspiration for the outrageous characters?
MT: You name it; TV, movies, music, comic books... pretty much everything that Congress says we should be worried about.
IGN: Can you talk a bit about each of the three courses?
MT: The first one is called Turnpike Valley, and its located right here in scenic NJ. It comes complete with low flying airplanes on final approach to Newark International Airport and the occasional highway overpass that cuts right across the fairway. The next course is called Crusty Leaf and it's located in the backwoods of West Virginia. Besides the trailer parks and barns, this course is all about trees. Out of all the courses it's probably the toughest one because you have to really play well in order to avoid all the foliage. Finally we have the Arizona course that we like to call El Diablo. This course can be described in two words, long and windy. Located out in the middle of the wind swept wasteland, this course also hosts an assortment of interesting rock formations that might complicate some of your shots.
IGN: How do you think Outlaw Golf compares to both the humorous games like Hot Shots and the more serious golf titles?
MT: When we started this project we set out to create a golf game that was both fun in its presentation and realistic in its play. I think that we achieved both of these goals quite well. The controls and physics of the game are similar to a sim like Tiger Woods 2002, only in Outlaw Golf you have the added challenge of occasionally having to hit your approach shot from the other side of the New Jersey Turnpike. And comparing the humor and antics in Outlaw Golf to those of Hot Shots would be like comparing an Olson Twins after school special to one of those late night Cinemax flicks (I'm sure you know the ones that I mean.)
Nice camera shot..........
IGN: How do you unlock the different characters and are there other things to unlock?
MT: By winning Tour Mode events you unlock different characters, clubs, and other events. You can use the clubs to improve your performance in not only other tour events but also at the driving range. By beating the Driving Range events you can earn skill points that are used to enhance your golfer's attributes.
IGN: Will we be seeing more of these outlaw titles like golf and volleyball? Anything else planned?
MT: Gee I sure hope so, and yes we do have a few other games in the "idea" stage. I guess we'll have to see how Outlaw Golf does first though.
IGN: What's the funniest thing you've seen in the game? What's your favorite thing about the game?
MT: The funniest thing is when you nail one of the spectators with a nice long drive. Let me tell you they go down... fast. As for my favorite thing about the game, that would have to be getting a few buddies together and playing a Casino mode game for real money.
IGN: What goes into designing a golf course for a video game? How do you decide on the theme, the length of each hole, greens, etc? Do you consult anyone who designs real golf courses?
MT: Basically you try to design a course that you'd like to play. In this game many of the holes were either based on real holes that we've played (or seen) or they were designed with a specific characteristic or obstacle in mind. With El Diablo we tried to build a golf course in the middle of the Grand Canyon. That means that each hole is really long (forget about reaching the green in 2 unless you unlock the better distance clubs) and there are a lot of canyons and rock formations that you have to look out for and play around.
-- Hilary Goldstein