It’s summer, which means it’s cricket time! With Cricket 22 hot off the press, we bowled some questions at Michael Merren, the game’s development manager at Melbourne’s Big Ant Studio.

Before you started on Cricket 22, what did you outline as the key features that you wanted to work on?
As we knew Cricket 22 was to be the first cricket game for the next generation of consoles, we wanted to make sure that we delivered an experience that matched “new generation” expectations. We’ve completely overhauled the visual engine – the power of these machines has allowed us to support 4K resolution for the first time, and add more detail to the game in almost every way.

What are the significant changes in Cricket 22?
We’ve worked hard to bring more licenses than ever before to Cricket 22, so now you can play with New Zealand, the West Indies and Ireland, as well as Australia and England, and you’ll also experience the thrills of the short form Big Bash, The Hundred and the CPL. The career mode has also been greatly enhanced, featuring a narrative and stronger focus on the off-field experience, so that you can be even more immersed within your rise to superstardom.

What’s involved in chasing down all the relevant licenses for the game?
A lot of work! We’re constantly talking to cricket bodies and expanding the breadth of licenses within our game. We’ll continue to do so, too, with more licenses to come after release – so stay tuned!

The commentary in any sports game is almost the 12th player when it comes to adding realism. How did you record the commentary for Cricket 22?
We did build the commentary for Cricket 22 from scratch, and for the first time you can enjoy an all-woman commentary team – we believe it’s important to support the women’s game. To create the commentary, we actually had people commentate entire matches of Cricket 22, and we then extrapolated from that the commentary that you hear in-game – this is how we ensured that the commentary is authentic and responsive to the situations in the game.

Cricket 22

Bowling has always been the hardest aspect of a cricket game to attract players. What steps have been made in Cricket 22 to make more players want to bowl?
One of the key things that we’ve done is implement “arcade” bowling controls, which involve placing a marker on the screen to determine where the ball is going to go. This highly accessible option helps players get into the game immediately and get a feel for how the bowling system works in the game. Once you’re more comfortable with bowling, you can switch to our more traditional control options for a more granular and simulation-like bowling experience, much like a “pro-mode”.

What’s the studio’s proudest Cricket 22 moment?
We’re just thrilled that, with this being our fifth cricket simulation, we’ve been able to continue taking on the feedback from our amazing community to build a truly authentic and fully-featured simulation of the great sport. We’re fans of cricket ourselves, and we’ve always been driven by what the players that spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours playing our games tell us. We believe Cricket 22 delivers on that feedback.

What are your predictions for this summer’s Ashes series?
Cricket fans have a lot to look forward to this summer! We’re looking forward to a closely fought contest between two excellent teams but, barring some Stokes brilliance, we think it might be the Aussies at home in a close one.

Cricket 22 is available now on PS5, Xbox and PS4. A Switch version is set to release on January 28, 2022.

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