Mike Franco Interview
James: When do you expect the new golf game your team is working on to be released?
Mike: We plan on being on store shelves in April of 1999.
James: What are some of the new features your team plans to include in the new game?
Mike: All of our efforts are geared towards making Golden Bear Challenge the premier golf game for golfers. Every design decision is based on the question, "how does this happen in real golf?" Specifically, we are increasing the realism of the golfer characters by adding visual detail and customizable personalities. The golf course graphics will be better and will render faster. The performance and functionality of the interface items like the shot mechanics are going to be dramatically improved. There will be the best selection of well-known golf courses ever seen in a Jack game. There are a slew of new features, many of which came from the loyal Jack customers who have made their opinions heard in newsgroups and chat forums.
James: Some people have complained that the courses that come with the game aren't as good as the ones designers make. What do you think?
Mike: I think that the talent of the designers in the Jack community is undeniable. Courses like Rolling Evergreen or Bear Mountain are incredible in their attention to detail. When we built the Jack 5 courses, we were designing courses that set a standard for realism. That standard has been raised since the release of Jack 5. The standard for "as good as" is a moving target; in other words, the courses that the best designers are building today are often better than the first Jack 5 courses because the skills have improved. Experience is a great teacher, and we've got some quick learners in the Jack community.
James: What about career mode?
Mike: I love the idea and we will have a very robust mode of play where your character develops his or her skills over time. How he or she improves will be based on experience--just like real golf.
James: How about adding true 3D objects like bridges, benches, gas carts, shacks, restrooms, clubhouses etc. That way the objects would look correct from any perspective?
Mike: Jack 5 offers a peek at what full 3D support will be like. The golfer and objects like the waving flagstick help immerse you into the scene. Golden Bear Challenge will take this so much farther. Expect to see everything you ask about and more. (Except for golf carts; I prefer walking. I think Casey Martin also would prefer to walk if he could do so without pain.)
I would like to thank Mike for his wonderful answers to our questions!