An email pitch hit my inbox on Monday evening from the team at Western Australia’s Bungarra Software. It was a pitch for the studio’s new game Barton Lynch Pro Surfing. The pitch stuck out for two reasons: one, it featured a genre that very rarely pops up in video games anymore, and two: it was accompanied by an absolute banger of a trailer.
The game, created by eight developers from Fremantle over a period of two-and-a-half years, aims to capture the spirit of high-stakes competitive surfing.
Surfing titles are an extremely niche genre in video games. Though the cover art of Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer is seared into my retinas from years working at Gold Coast EB Games stores in the late 2000s, I have a hard time thinking of other dedicated surfing games I’ve encountered. It usually pops up as a mini-game in a larger sports compilation. Here, Bungarra wants to return the sport to the fore.
To prove their bona fides, the studio is working with world champion surfer and Sport Australia Hall-of-Famer Barton Lynch. The team themselves are also die-hard surfers, dedicated to replicating the experience of hitting the waves as accurately as possible.
“We are surfers who are passionate about the core sport of surfing, along with the culture and the freedom of our lifestyle,” says Bungarra Software CEO Andrew West. “We’ve been building surfing games for years and our very first demo was a simulation. Circumstance had sidetracked us away from our desire to make a truly sport-focused surfing game, but now we’ve come full circle.
“We’ve built BL Pro Surfing primarily for surfing gamers, along with anyone interested in our sport and lifestyle. It’s also a game that is accessible for (non-gaming) surfers and we hope that they can see the love and passion we’ve put into this project for them. So while this sports game is pickup and play, it is difficult to master”
You gotta see this trailer though
Look, we know the graphics aren’t much to write home about yet, and so does the team. Bungarra freely admits it has built all its tech on a modest budget, focusing on water and physics as a priority. When the game arrives on Xbox One and Steam Early Access in Q3 this year, it will hopefully help the team continue to build on its presentation.
In that regard, though, I feel like they’re in pretty safe hands. Take a look at this trailer and tell me it doesn’t get your hype meter moving.
That is the most professional trailer for a small indie game I’ve seen in yonks. From a pure production standpoint, this is an E3 World Premiere level banger. Well done, trailer team, you absolutely nailed the brief.
It’s great to see a local team spot a gap in the market and go for it like this. I mean, it’s not like Activision’s doing much with all its old Pro sports franchises these days. Someone should get amongst it, and it might as well us Aussies. We’ll be following this project with interest.
Bungarra says Barton Lynch Pro Surfing will come to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 later in the year.