Hi guys! I’m here today to share some details for Top Spin 4, in stores tomorrow, March 15th in the US and March 18th internationally. A quick reminder: if you pre-order from GameStop today, you can still get a Vintage Andre Agassi, mullet and all!
Top Spin is one of my favorite video game franchises because it truly redefines the way you experience the sport of tennis. Intuitive controls make gameplay immediately accessible, yet deep and rewarding for the tennis experts who want to plan their strategy and target their opponent’s weaknesses. Top Spin 4 puts you front and center of the professional tennis experience with the deepest player roster ever featuring the sports’ top current pros and legendary stars including: Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, Serena Williams, Patrick Rafter, Michael Chang, Dinara Safina, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Caroline Wozniacki, and more.
Top Spin 4 also has two PS3-related features: the use of PlayStation Move and 3D. Recently, I interviewed 2K Czech game designer Remi Ercolani for background on the use of PlayStation Move and 3D:
Remi Ercolani, Gameplay Designer, 2K Czech: For developers of a tennis game, devices such as the PlayStation Move provide an interesting challenge for us as designers and programmers. Playing tennis in front of your TV by swinging your arms with a device in your hand (that even feels like a tennis racket) is something most players consider natural. However, it also means completely rethinking the control scheme. We didn’t want to compromise anything with the PlayStation Move controls, and we wanted to stay true to what Top Spin 4 is all about: accessibility and depth. We came up with controls that are simple and fun and enable players with the PlayStation Move or a controller to play against each other.
Hitting the ball consists of two simple steps. First, move the Motion Controller from front to back to prepare your swing. Second, move the Motion Controller from back to front, as if you’re swinging at the ball. Simple as that. Oh, and by the way, it’s possible to play standing up as well as sitting on your couch.
Here are the different type of shots you can perform:
- Prepare to the back, then swing. That’s a flat shot.
- Prepare to the back and down, and then swing. That’s a top spin shot. You need to prepare downward to be able to put more spins into your shot when you swing.
- Prepare to the back while holding RT, then swing. That’s a slice shot.
To add power to your swing, you must swing wide and fast. The timing of your shot determines its quality, and timing is defined by the moment you perform the swing motion.
To serve, toss the ball up in the air and then swing down. Toss the ball and swing using the PlayStation Move motion controller, and aim with the navigation controller’s analog stick. The way you toss the ball determines the type of serve you’ll perform:
- Straight up, then swing. That’s a flat serve.
- Up and to the right, then swing. That’s a slice serve.
- Up and to the left, then swing. That’s a top spin serve.
The power behind a serve is based on peak swing timing. The closer to the peak of the ball toss, the more powerful the serve. To perform a tricky advanced serve, press the Move button while serving. Speaking of advanced controls, to become a master at Top Spin 4 and become extra competitive, try executing some of these special shots:
- Drop shot: slice shot + Move Button.
- Lob: L2 + any swing motion.
- Shot followed to the net (or serve and volley): L1 + swing (or serve).
- Drop volley: Control volley + Move Button.
- Inside out: perform a forehand (respectively backhand) motion when the ball comes on your backhand (respectively forehand). That will force your player to try and play a forehand or backhand.
Top Spin 4’s simple controls make it a very easy game to pick up. You’ll also discover advanced techniques you’ll need to master in order to become an even better player.
When we decided to support stereoscopic 3D in Top Spin 4, we wanted to ensure that the experience wasn’t only a technical feature for the back of the box. When we played the game with 3D for the first time, we realized the 3D effect was stunning during cut scenes when the camera is low and close to the players. In those moments, with the great on-court ambiance, you really feel like you’re on the court with the players and you almost want to reach out your hand to touch them. But we also found out that the 3D functionality was helpful in better understanding the ball trajectories and made the experience that much better. We decided to implement a dedicated 3D camera on PS3 that was intended to provide the best possible sensations, both in terms of playability and 3D effect. We came up with a lower camera (closer to the players) with specific behaviors. It must be seen to be believed!
I want to thank Remi for taking the time out of his busy schedule to give us insight on how to get the most out of using the PlayStation Move. I gave it a whirl a few weeks back and I had one of the most fun experiences I have had playing a video game. It worked smoothly and seemed to do whatever I wanted to with the “racket” in my hand.
Now I do want to mention a few other features that have been popular with our fans. Here are some of the things to look out for when you grab your copy tomorrow, March 15th:
Real Tennis Experience – See, feel, and hear everything the pros do in a real tennis match. Watch as your player moves and swings exactly like his or her real life counterpart thanks to the addition of over 4,000 more Signature Style animations with a variety of play styles. As you rally with an opponent during a crucial point, listen as the crowd builds with intensity due to all-new crowd FX. From the life-like visuals of the world’s best players, to the faithful recreation of the world’s most hallowed courts and the unparalleled authenticity of the on-court gameplay, Top Spin 4 provides a breathtaking tennis experience.
My Player/My Career – Many of you 2K Sports gamers may be familiar with this mode from other titles such as NBA and MLB where you get to create a player from scratch and guide him or her through every facet of a real pro tennis career, starting as a newcomer pro with the goal of becoming one of the game’s greatest legends. In Top Spin 4, we have the deepest Player Creator mode that will allow you to fully customize every aspect of your player with a new, streamlined interface and create a player with an uncanny amount of detail. You will then have the ability to develop this player over time and customize their style with the introduction of a variety of coaches.
After practicing, you will have to make a variety of decisions in your career that will determine whether you can become a legend. To represent your progression through the Top Spin League, we have defined eight statuses: newcomer, rookie, new talent, young gun, rising star, star, superstar, and legend. When you start your career, your status is “newcomer”. Your main goal in the Career mode is to progress to the next status, one by one, until you reach the very last one, Legend. To unlock a status, you have objectives to complete (examples: win two minor tournaments, have more than 45,000 fans, etc.).
Online World Tour Mode – Do you have what it takes to become #1 in the world? Create the ultimate player and hop online to take on other gamers from across the globe. Participate in tournaments and gain experience points to level up your player’s abilities, while tracking all of your online stats & ranking via leaderboards.
All of these features combined with the unbelievably realistic gameplay make for a solid package that any gamer can appreciate. Look for more info on the yet detailed feature, the 2K Open, coming soon but, all in all, we are really excited to get this game out to you folks.
Thanks for reading! Top Spin 4 hits stores tomorrow. In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook to see exclusive Top Spin info, or feel free to drop me a line below or on Twitter. If you want to get an idea in any of the games we make, including NBA 2K11, MLB 2K11, or NHL 2K11? You have my ear and can always reach me. Drop me a line anytime!