AO Tennis 2 Interview – Back on the Court

You can’t help but respect a developer that responds to criticism by putting their head down and fixing and improving their game- with 2018’s AO Tennis, that’s exactly what Big Ant Studios did. And with all the improvements in tow, they’ve now come out with the iterative sequel, which means that for understandable reasons, AO Tennis 2 is a game that’s got fans of the first game quite excited. Prior to its launch, we sent across some questions about the game to the devs. You can read our conversation with Big Ant Studios CEO Ross Symons below.

NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the game’s launch.

AO Tennis 2

“As we follow an iterative approach with our creation tools, there are always new options that we bring into the system, allowing players even greater control over every element of the characters and environments that they create.”

What was behind the decision to make all the community created content from the previous game available in AO Tennis 2 as well?

We have a great deal of respect for the incredibly passionate AO Tennis community. They created – and shared – over 20,000 players, and 4,000 complete venues for others to download, and this meant the game itself had an incredible amount of added value, even for people not creating content. Allowing their content to live on in AO Tennis 2 is an acknowledgement of that community effort.

We also thought that it would be the ideal way to launch the game. From day one players have been able to access hundreds of hours’ worth of different content, and immediately customise their game to suit their tastes.

Does AO Tennis 2 make any improvements to its creation and editing tools?

Yes! As we follow an iterative approach with our creation tools, there are always new options that we bring into the system, allowing players even greater control over every element of the characters and environments that they create.

What are the biggest improvements that AO Tennis 2 has made to its career mode?

We really overhauled the career mode for AO Tennis 2. In the previous title, you would travel around the world playing matches and winning tournaments on the way to world #1. That is still the goal in AO Tennis 2, but now you need to be more mindful of your schedule, as fatigue and injuries play a role, and there are fully-animated cut scenes and press conferences to introduce a narrative element to the game. Add in the reputation system, and now it’s not just about getting to world #1, it’s about the journey and how you get there.

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“We’ve introduced a number of key improvements to the presentation side of AO Tennis 2. There’s an all-new lighting system, which helps enhance the atmosphere of matches – playing at daytime, afternoon, or at night has a very different feel to it now.”

Presentation is often considered one of sports games’ most important aspects- what sort of improvements does AO Tennis 2 make in this area?

We’ve introduced a number of key improvements to the presentation side of AO Tennis 2. There’s an all-new lighting system, which helps enhance the atmosphere of matches – playing at daytime, afternoon, or at night has a very different feel to it now.

We’ve also significantly increased the amount of animation in the game, and introduced new technologies that make players’ clothing move in a more natural manner. The combined effect is a much more authentic game of tennis on your screen.

Was there any particular feedback from the community with the first game that you worked to improve upon with AO Tennis 2?

The community was great in giving us feedback in all areas. From helping us to understand how they were playing the game, through to the features they would like to see in the game, there isn’t much in AO Tennis 2 that wasn’t enhanced thanks to community feedback.

Can you talk about the new Scenario Editor and what it entails?

After introducing a scenario editor in Cricket 19, to a great community response, we did much the same thing with AO Tennis 2. You’re able to set up a match between two players at any point in the match, and then take over that match to see if you can recreate (or change) history. If you’ve got a favourite come from behind win, you’ll be able to replay that match and challenge yourself under the same circumstances.

ao tennis 2

“We’re still collecting feedback from players from the launch of the game now, so we’ve got nothing that we can confirm regarding plans for patches just yet. We do firmly believe in supporting our games at Big Ant, and AO Tennis 2 will be no different in that regard.”

What are your plans for AO Tennis 2 in the coming months, as far as updates and post-launch support are concerned?

We’re still collecting feedback from players from the launch of the game now, so we’ve got nothing that we can confirm regarding plans for patches just yet. We do firmly believe in supporting our games at Big Ant, and AO Tennis 2 will be no different in that regard.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about the game?

Just that we hope people love it! It’s no secret that AO Tennis wasn’t all it should have been at launch, and despite numerous updates and improvements, the whole team at Big Ant really felt like we had something to prove with AO Tennis 2. We’ve been truly thrilled to see the positive result that the game has had from the community so far.

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