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Sony bringing Everybody’s Golf to mobile devices in Japan

But wait, Japan isn’t ‘everybody’!

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Sony is preparing to launch Everybody’s Golf, the first title from its new mobile gaming division, as a free-to-play title in Japan, the company announced today.

Everybody’s Golf is a new mobile iteration of Sony’s long-running sports franchise, which began in 1997 with a game that was also called Everybody’s Golf on the original PlayStation. (Until this year, the series was known in North America as Hot Shots Golf.) Sony is also publishing a new PlayStation 4 entry in the series; it’s set for release this August and will likewise be named — wait for it — Everybody’s Golf, which is totally not confusing at all.

The mobile game isn’t being developed by Clap Hanz, the Japanese studio that has made every Everybody’s Golf title since 1999’s Everybody’s Golf 2 and is working on the PS4 game. Instead, it will be the first title from ForwardWorks, the internal division that Sony launched in April 2016 to make mobile games based on PlayStation brands. ForwardWorks is distributing Everybody’s Golf on Android and iOS; the game is in development at Tokyo-based Drecom.

Everybody’s Golf - touchscreen swing controls
The touchscreen swing controls in Everybody’s Golf.

Sony detailed the mobile version of Everybody’s Golf during a presentation in Japan today. The makers of the game came up with a simple shot mechanic that’s designed specifically for smartphone screens. You press on a circle in the center of the screen to start the swing, then pull down to determine the power; the timing of when you let go determines the accuracy of the shot.

“I developed a new shot system that repeats trial and error so that you can enjoy a good shot even on a smartphone, and you can easily hit a nice shot with one hand,” said Tomohiro Kawaguchi, general producer on Everybody’s Golf at ForwardWorks, according to the Japanese PlayStation Blog.

The typical features of a golf video game also play into your shot, like the wind speed and direction, the ball’s lie and spin, and the club you’re swinging with. And since it’s a mobile game, you’ll be able to get in and out quickly by playing a single hole rather than a full 18-hole course.

Another key element of Everybody’s Golf is customizing your golfer. You can choose your avatar’s gender, facial features, clothes, golf clubs and more. As is common in Japanese mobile games, Everybody’s Golf uses a “gachapon” mechanic in which you spend in-game currency to turn a machine that gives you a randomized item. This is also how you upgrade your golfer’s abilities, such as power and control.

In addition to solo play, Everybody’s Golf will offer two multiplayer options: head-to-head matches and Everyone Golf, a real-time mode that supports as many as eight players. Interested parties can head to the game’s website to pre-register.

ForwardWorks aims to launch four or five additional mobile games in Japan by March 2018; Sony has not announced any plans to release the games outside the Asia region, reports the Wall Street Journal. Nintendo has been putting out smartphone titles since early 2016, including the social app Miitomo and the platformer Super Mario Run.

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