30th May 2009 - The producer of the upcoming tennis game for the Wii, EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis sat down for a Q & A session in regards to the venues in the game.
Producer Q&A with Thomas Singleton
Grand Slam Tennis – Venues
Which venues did you go to?
In developing EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis, I went to Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. It was also my first time at any of them.
What was the most impressive thing about being at the Grand Slams?
The most impressive thing about the being there was the sheer scale of the tournaments and the different vibe and cultural aspects of each location from France to England to New York and how unique each one was. Overall I don’t think you truly appreciate how massive these tournaments are and how big the sport of tennis is across the globe until you’ve been to one of the Grand Slams. They’re almost the equivalent of the Superbowl. But instead of one, there are four of them taking place each year.
Which was your favourite and why?
Wimbledon was my favourite because of the history of the event and the scale and the tradition of the tennis there.
What was the atmosphere like at them?
The atmosphere was really different at each one. The Wimbledon fan base was definitely much more about the tradition of tennis, from the attire to the respect to the players, to the etiquette that everybody had. Then when you travel over the U.S. Open where it’s much more about seeing the celebrities at courtside or having a hot dog, it was almost like watching a baseball game. It was about the glitz and glamour, under the lights, the announcers outside constantly talking about what’s coming up. It was a bit more Hollywood style. For the French Open, it seems like everyone in France plays tennis. Everybody at the venue came from work in their suits, very light-hearted. The crowds would constantly shout things out so there was an element of humour. Fashion was definitely a big thing, people got dressed up to go to Roland Garros, and I mean dressed up, the suits, the dresses. It was a pretty interesting thing.
Was it challenging to recreate the venues in the game?
No, we’re all about authenticity, one of the main reasons to go was to not only experience them first hand but also to capture the essence of them visually and audibly.
Did it help that you were there?
It helped immensely to be there. It was myself and our art director that went so that we could make sure they were being built in their 3D in-game form. It also helped us to determine which elements were priorities and what the signature elements were.
What did you learn about tennis that you didn’t already know?
I truly never appreciated the speed of the game at that level, the pace on the ball, the major differences between the court surfaces, from grass to clay to hard court. Seeing the athleticism of the pro tennis player, I have a new found respect for the longevity of the matches and how they can sustain such athletic ability and power throughout.