As someone with zero knowledge of fishing, how steep is the learning curve and how many hours would I need to put in before it all starts making sense and clicking?
There is definitely some learning to do but the game is very much designed to assist with that. We set you up with a default tackle box that will start catching you fish straight away and in-game tutorials will help you build up your knowledge and understand what you are looking for /what equipment will assist you in different situations.
If you play the game armed with the knowledge of the tutorials then you will be on your way and like anything, you will start learning from mistakes and noticing patterns that will help you progress. With all the items of equipment available and all the different styles /approaches available to you, there is hundreds of hours of gameplay but everything should start ‘clicking’ after a few trips on the lake.
How do you plan on attracting the millions of anglers around the world to the game? Especially those who might not be as au fait to video games.
We have several different approaches for this. Firstly, we work very closely with a lot of the angling press, particularly Total Carp magazine who publish articles and reviews of the game on our behalf. Secondly, we work closely with some of the professional anglers that are in the game, some of which have produced video guides on performing certain actions or explaining some of the terminology used.
Thirdly, the game is fully licensed and our equipment partners help us promote the game across their social media platforms. And then finally, we look to support the industry where we can, attending events, running competitions etc. With all of the above, we are very much a part of the industry so anglers should find out about us.
How tricky is it then, when crafting the game, to make it accessible to complete non-gamers without also patronising those who know what to do with a controller in hand?
There is definitely a balancing act. We try to put things in place that assist non gamers and also assist non-anglers. I’ve previously mentioned the tutorials which is a great source of information for non-anglers but they all come with the relevant command prompts as well so they assist non-gamers who need to become familiar with the controls.
The UI in the game whether in menu’s or on the water are also full of command prompts as well. So instead of just saying ‘claim a peg’, it will tell you what button you need to press to do so. Expert gamers can choose to remove the HUD /or partially remove it if they don’t feel they need them and it is affecting their experience.
What sort of game length do you think we’re looking at to capture say ‘all the fish’ and complete the game?
That’s a really tricky question to answer! A lot of it, similar to real life, comes down to the players skill and a bit of luck along the way! If you can find the fish, place an attractive bait in front them that they want to eat and then successfully land them then you’ll do well. But with 35 species of fish and 125 different boss fish, you need to work out where each one is, what baits they like etc so that will take a long time. To fully complete the game and all its different options would take several hundred hours at least.
The presentation you showed us mentioned ‘fish AI’. Can you explain how you go about crafting that and making all species feel distinct and realistic?
Yes, each species of fish (35 in total) have their own unique behaviours and preferences.
Things to take into account include bait, where in a venue they most like spending time in, at what depth in the lake do they feel most comfortable /most likely to feed, at what time of day and what weather conditions is this most likely to happen and finally – perhaps most importantly – what type and size of bait or lure are they most likely to be attracted to.
The way we set this up is through our own knowledge (several of the team fish themselves), through working with our in-game anglers and partners and good old-fashioned research!
Has the game moved on far enough to satisfy those who maybe purchased Fishing Sim World in 2019? Without having a massive knowledge of fishing, there is a sense that its a bit like FIFA 21 dropping 12 months after FIFA 20.
Absolutely – there are loads of new features available in The Catch: Carp Coarse that haven’t been available before.
Firstly, there are 11 brand new species of fish. Secondly, the fish behaviour and the fish fighting has been improved and advanced water flow means that your boat will drift in the current or your float will gently run-down stream. Thirdly, we have intensity mode and (zoom in on float) mode.
Intensity mode means that when you catch a new species of fish for the first time or the fish is above a certain weight for its species, a heartbeat sound will start playing and the general ambience will fade.
As your hook health deteriorates, the heartbeat will get louder and the pressure really ramps up. Zoom in mode is part of a bigger improvement to float fishing, which enables you to zoom in and focus on the float so that you have the visual effect of the flat sliding under the water and you know exactly when to strike.
We have also enabled you to be able to change the depth of your float. Other new features include new lure retrieval techniques, a new mastery system, new and improved tournaments, new characters and more customisation of them, new partners and equipment as well as 5 brand new venues.
So there are lots of reasons why this is very different!
Do you see a scenario in the future whereby a Dovetail Fishing game becomes more of a service with new expansions adding fish, and locations.
We’re always looking at how to evolve our fishing sims, and Fishing Sim World is a great example of this, with last year’s large update making it Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour. We’re always updating and improving as we go.
The Catch: Carp Coarse is out now for PS4, Xbox One and PC