Earlier this year, Pinball Arcade, Farsight Studios’ long-running pinball series that’s most notable for having real pinball tables and physics I don’t love…lost their biggest real table licenses.
They announced very suddenly that all of the real-life Midway, Bally, and Williams tables in their game would be going away.
It was kind of shocking. The studio had a longstanding relationship with those tables, creating emulations of them across several platforms over the years.
Now, suddenly, we know why that happened.
Zen Studios, makers of the excellent Pinball FX series, scored the Williams license! They have four tables rolling out in their first pack and I presume that several more are coming, since it sounds like they got the whole catalog.
This is the first time that Zen’s series has had “real” pinball tables in it. They’ve long been known for their fun original tables, and their tables based on licensed movie, video game, and comic book franchises.
I tried out the Steam beta of the new tables, and fortunately, Zen’s excellent graphics engine and physics simulation are a perfect fit for real pinball. Actually, they look, sound, and feel better to play than they ever did in Farsight’s games.
I didn’t hate those older titles, but Zen’s games have always been so much more fun and exciting to play, better-capturing the feel of real Pinball. Now that they have real table licenses alongside all their classics, Pinball FX 3 can proudly proclaim to be the definitive pinball experience.
This is the best re-creation that these tables have had outside of an arcade, and I shouted with elation when I saw this news this morning.
I’ll be posting a full review as soon as the table pack goes live, but I can already guess that I’m going to love it.