As we’ve said before, it’s become rare to see a new sports series on consoles, especially the kind of licensed game with the career mode, multiplayer and all the trappings sports fans have come to expect. But some are making a comeback. Tennis World Tour, which Polygon profiled last year during E3 2017, is one.
Breakpoint Studio, via Bigben Interactive (which also publishes the WRC FIA rally racing series) is jumping back into a space vacated by 2K Sports and EA Sports. The game is being developed by alumni of the 2K Czech studio that built 2011’s Top Spin 4, the last in a series that was widely hailed by tennis fans even if a larger sports audience was indifferent to it.
Even though the video is in French and the gameplay is alpha, tennis fans can see the first in-game gameplay for something due to launch this spring for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. (Previous trailers were stylized replays from something other than the main gameplay camera).
The motion capture actor is Maxime Teixeira, a French professional who competes mainly on the ATP’s Challenger Tour. They brought him in not only for staple sequences like a winner at the net, or a slicing forehand at the baseline, but also subtler stuff like letting a long first serve go by, or even a code violation for racket abuse (at 1:50).
There’s some chop and skating in the animations from the alpha gameplay; one hopes that gets smoothed out by the time Tennis World Tour launches. Regardless, tennis fans have been an underserved constituency for about six years now — and not at all on this console generation — and it’s good to get them back into the game.