Video game studio puts N.S. Lunenburg on map


From Moe Norman to Mike Weir and Sandra Post to Brooke Henderson, Canada has a wealthy golf historical past.

But there’s additionally a little-known golf hotbed in Lunenburg, N.S.

Located on the south shore of Nova Scotia, with a inhabitants of two,396 in response to the 2021 census, the port city is residence to HB Studios, creator of the brand new “PGA Tour 2K23” video game.

Founded in 2000 by transplanted Englishman Jeremy Wellard, HB Studios collaborated with numerous publishers together with Electronic Arts on an array of sports activities video games. The studio recruited regionally and all around the globe to get experience in the whole lot from cricket and rugby to soccer, soccer and golf.

“When I began right here, I used to be positively one of many native folks,” mentioned HB Studios artistic director Josh Muise, who has greater than 15 years expertise with the corporate. “I used to be born on the East Coast and grew up out right here. I bear in mind strolling by way of the studio the primary day and the variety of totally different accents that I got here throughout was actually pleasant and sort of fascinating to seek out in a small sleepy fishing village in Nova Scotia.”

The studio now additionally has an workplace in Halifax, with mixed workers of about 100 and rising.

“This has turn out to be a extremely main mission and it is turn out to be a really large game,” Muise mentioned of the golf title. “We’re very fortunate to have the ability to proceed attracting world-class expertise and rising the franchise.”

Muise, 40, was born on Cape Breton Island and spent loads of his faculty years in New Brunswick. While he admits to some reservations again within the day about transferring to “a 1,200- to 1,500-person seasonal fishing village, as lovely because it was within the postcards,” he’s now an unabashed fan of Lunenburg.

“It’s been an exquisite transformation. The city has radically shifted within the final 5, 10 years particularly, the place you are seeing loads of new companies and also you’re seeing loads of new folks coming in. And it is actually turn out to be a hotbed.”

The pattern towards working remotely has helped convey an inflow of younger high-tech employees trying to depart town. The undeniable fact that Halifax is simply an hour or so away provides to Lunenburg’s attraction.

HB Studios mirrors that progress, as proven by the truth that its latest title options Tiger Woods on its cowl.

“The factor that we’re proudest of with that’s that we really feel like we earned the chance,” mentioned Muise, whose title is pronounced muse. “We went from an impartial golf game, not all these a few years in the past, to constructing as much as incomes ourself the spot to having the PGA Tour licence come into play and being a part of our partnership, finally bringing in 2K (Games) and the whole lot that they provide, after which main as much as bringing in Tiger Woods as nicely.

“The workforce labored very very exhausting to place an amazing game on the market. We labored with the neighborhood. We had been receptive to the suggestions. And we sort of grew collectively. So for all of it to culminate with the perfect, I’d say, single-sport athlete of all time on the quilt of the field, nothing may really feel higher.”

That first impartial golf game was “The Golf Club,” launched in 2014, which ultimately turned “The Golf Club 2019 that includes PGA Tour.”

In 2020, the studio launched “PGA Tour 2K21” for 2K Games. A 12 months later, 2K Games purchased HB Studios and signed a cope with Woods.

Today the PGA Tour 2K franchise is the studio’s primary focus with 2K Games’ experience from its NBA franchise serving to the studio with the complexities of golf licensing and companions.

Woods and Canadian Brooke Henderson are among the many 16 playable execs accessible at launch in “PGA Tour 2K23,” which was launched Oct. 14 for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One and PC by way of Steam. Basketball icons Michael Jordan and Steph Curry additionally seem within the game.

“Being a Canadian studio, it was vital for us to attempt to usher in an amazing Canadian icon like Brooke,” mentioned Muise.

“She’s an amazing ambassador for the game. She’s an all time Canadian legend.” he added. “And (we’re) completely thrilled to have her as a part of our roster.”

The 2K franchise may have competitors subsequent spring, with Electronic Arts getting again into the game with “EA Sports PGA Tour,” boasting video game entry to all 4 majors together with the Masters.

“We know that there could also be a brand new product coming into the house however finally we really feel very assured and really snug that golf is the place we need to be,” mentioned Muise. “And golf is the place we intend on staying. And we’ll preserve constructing on our present success and pushing it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 26, 2021


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