From a business perspective, it’s natural that publisher 2K and developer HB Studios should expand their partnership by turning The Golf Club into PGA 2K21. 2K gets an already good golf series in the fold, and HB gets more support. But where do gamers fit in all this? It appears that we’re in the cat bird seat, because both sides are making a commitment to keep what we already love about the series, only add to it.
This means that the course creation feature that is at the heart of The Golf Club franchise – whether you use it or not – is very much a part of PGA Tour 2K21. Similarly, the title is still guided first and foremost by its natural analog swing – no stat buffs or player upgrades. Just you, your clubs, and the course.
“We’ve never felt like [2K] put any pressure on us to do any specific things,” says senior producer Shaun West. That may sound like a simple statement, but honestly, given how far 2K series like NBA 2K have gone down the grind/microtransaction route, I’m glad that PGA 2K21 is not trying to be something The Golf Club never was in the first place.
Instead, on top of what we already like about The Golf Club, this year’s title is adding a dozen PGA pros (so far former number one and PGA Tour and FedEx champion Justin Thomas has been officially confirmed), real courses and tournaments (The Players was teased recently), better presentation (including commentators Luke Elvy and Rich Beem), and more brands to splash over your golfer such as Adidas, Callaway, Polo Ralph Lauren, and TaylorMade.
Beyond the names, the pros themselves give the career mode more of a structure – something I thought The Golf Club 2019 needed. The pros form the basis of the Tour’s challenges and rewards, so hopefully playing through the Tour feels more dramatic than going up against a bunch of randos on the leaderboard from week to week.
Over the summer West says we’re going to find out more about improvements to gameplay, course creation additions, and other aspects, so this all sounds like just the tip of the iceberg – no matter what we’re calling the series these days.
PGA Tour 2K21 comes out on August 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, and PC.