Much like EA’s dominance over video game soccer, Melbourne-based developer Big Ant holds a similar dominance over video game cricket – something that might be weirdly amusing to those of us in the states. Their game Don Bradman Cricket 14, released in 2014 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and later available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, was a tremendous success, and considered “the finest and most nuanced cricket game ever made.”
For cricket fans in Australia, however, it’s no joke, and after the season concluded in January of this year, where both the men’s and women’s teams representing the Sydney thunder clinched their respective finals, a “new explosion of interest in Australian women’s cricket” has been unleashed. Similar to the wave of interest that led to the inclusion of women’s soccer in FIFA 16, women’s cricket will also get their shining sports debut in Don Bradman Cricket 17.
In a profile by IGN, Big Ant CEO Ross Symons promised that women players were doing mo-cap, displaying a fundamental understanding that male and female athletes simply move differently – or, “you can’t just say, ‘Yeah, okay, we’re just going to give them ponytails!'”
The profile is an excellent read, but the most notable thing about it is Symons’ reasoning for including women. While EA received a fair bit of positive press upon the announcement that women’s national teams would be in FIFA 16 (and a fair bit of derision from online commenters), Symons simply said “the thing for us is more that it’s the right thing to do.” Instead of chasing great press or some kind of positive sales influx, the notion that doing something right just because its right is a strange little glimmer of warmth in a profit-motivated, numbers-driven industry.
Based on the success of Cricket 14, Cricket 17 will probably be another big hit for Big Ant, with an even bigger audience to appeal to, and a wider range of playable options that’ll keep players happy and entertained.