Golfing, for some, is considered a pastime for the rich and elite. For others, it’s a game revolutionized by Tiger Woods… but it’s still boring to watch. That’s until Bandai Namco’s Winning Putt decided to take a simple game of putt and turn it upside down, creating something that’s exciting, stylish, and engrossing; while still being a game about golf.
In the hands of producer, Cory Maggard and his team, Winning Putt is a journey of RPG golfing fun, powered by precision and the support of fans.
Recently, we had a chance to speak with Maggard about bringing the game to life, community inclusion, the game’s latest features, and more.
When you first sit down to play Winning Putt, you’ll notice it’s in a class of its own, redefining the sports gaming genre. The free-to-play golf game mixes classic putting with timing-based golf gameplay while effortlessly blending RPG and MMO elements. Sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to grasp and play. There is a uniqueness to the game.
“The big difference between Winning Putt and other golf games is the RPG features. Leveling up, unlocking new skills, and customizing your gear all leads the player toward the ultimate goal of being the best.”
Throughout the months, the game has seen an array of designs, everything from basic luscious greenery to captivating night scenery and even the unexpected space destinations; which adds to the charm. While the courses may seem random, a lot of planning goes into the field and the game’s many features.
“We take a lot of things into account when designing a course. I think the dev team would say it’s one of the most intensive (and fun!) parts of working on the game. My favorite elements would be the aesthetics and the mechanics because with both of those, you want to create a different experience from the existing courses. For example, as can be seen on Starglen, we have these really narrow fairways and extreme hills to go along with the alien planet setting.”
While several courses may derive from fantasy and sci-fi, the inspiration is built in reality. When playing the game you can’t help but feel like you’ve seen some of the courses before, even if you’re only a casual golf watcher. That’s because, “the development team consists of real golf fans and their course design in Winning Putt shows that. For example, Helena was inspired by the real-life course Augusta. While other courses in the game may not be as closely tied to a real-life course, the dev team pays attention to all the details as one would with a real course.”
However, the developers are supportive of their community and listen to what features the fans want as well; which has only added to the fun.
“We take a lot of what the community suggests seriously like any game and use that to help us prioritize new features. It takes time to develop, but when players request it, we put more weight on that feature.”
Fan inclusion has resulted in courses and endless fun you wouldn’t necessarily think of when golfing. The recently added Starglen course, which is unlocked at level 15, features a planet with beautiful astronomical sky backdrop. Players will enjoy golf on a new planet with the same atmosphere and gravity as Earth. There is also the Survival Time Attack feature where up to 20 players compete in a 9-hole race that rewards them for sinking their ball in the hole quickly and accurately. At every hole, the first person to finish will trigger a time attack of 30 or 45 seconds. Remaining players must complete the hole within the time limit to stay in the round. It should come to no surprise these are so far, Putt’s coolest additions.
“The two I think are the coolest are our new course called Starglen which is set on an alien planet and Survival Time Attack, a multiplayer competitive speed run. Both of these will let players experience the game in new ways and we’re excited to see how players like them. And of course, we have some new guild features, costumes, and a new tournament called the Sakura Pro-Am (which end May 12th) that kicks off our first official tour season.”
So what’s next for Winning Putt? How about VR support?
“That’s a really cool idea. I’ll have to discuss with the dev team and see what they think.”