Extreme sports game The Surfer promises to bring realistic surfing to PS3 this week

Australian outfit Bungarra Software details the momentum-based surfing at the heart of its game, out 13th December

We are surfers, so for us it was always vital to focus on capturing a genuine feel and understanding of our sport as well as the surfing lifestyle.

As an indie shop we love the PS2 era surfing games – Transworld, Sunny Garcia and Kelly Slater – and we wanted to bring that feel back to consoles. So we set out to create a retro art style for the PS3 and then we focused on creating gameplay depth; still building on the past but aiming to be as innovative as we could be in our game design.


So after years of R&D our unique Pump control emerged, a method that centres on the player using the physics of the wave to generate speed in order to combo.

You can’t just button mash; there’s a real skill to surfing that you pick up through the control. The sport of surfing is all about using the power of a wave to score in a flowing fashion. It’s very much a combination of a surfer’s individual style aesthetic and controlled aggression. We use our physics and scoring mechanic to emphasise this, so the focus is about the position on the wave + momentum performed in tandem.

Another cool feature is our tactile button input; the longer you hold your button in for wave moves, the harder you carve; you slide sideways before eventually wiping-out, as indicated by the surfer’s animation. An animation indicating near death isn’t anything new in games of course, but because you can use the energy of the wave to generate your speed, you can also power-slide on the wave in a similar fashion to a power-slide in a car.


One of the criticisms we’ve received along the way is that a physics based surfing game is too difficult to just pick up and play when compared to skating or snowboarding.

We listened. It is, however, fair to point out that in video games, skate and snowboarding have natural advantages over surfing. In general, you can jump on a skate or snowboard, move in a forward direction and perform a basic trick.


You can also interact with an environment. Surfing on the other hand, has natural impediments: paddling, duck-diving, reading the ocean and to boot, we only interact with waves. But, the cool thing about Pump is that utilizes the same mechanics integral to both snowboarding and skateboarding, namely, speed and tricks; however, we apply it to waves that change randomly by rolling or tubing in genuinely differing locations and swell conditions.

Suddenly you have a new way of thinking of how a surfing game could play.

We’re also focusing largely on how the equipment affects gameplay. If you don’t choose the right board and / or suit combination per the wave conditions, it’s going to impact your performance.


You can select a board, repair a board when it snaps, ride your jetski to tow into hard to paddle into waves, select a range of 3rd to 1st person cameras whenever it suits. We’re also returning to traditional local split screen gameplay (online is coming later).

Non-surfers have quite correctly pointed to a lack of “depth” in the surfing genre, but we hope that in a small way we’ve addressed some of those concerns. Alternatively if you do surf and you like the old games, we think you might like The Surfer. We live for surfing… and there’s much more to come.

1 Author replies
misterMike1989 11 December, 2017 @ 13:14

PS3 game advertised on blog? Really? In December 2017? Cool


The only word in the title that got my attention was PS3, otherwise I wouldn’t even be looking at this.


well ilove my PS4 but i aways go back to my PS3 every now and agian. Well never retire it. It just has some of the best games ever, and still have loads on it i want to finish.

Edit: Video was unavailable.

Wow, how was this not at the Game Awards or PSX? ……………………………. lol. Well, I guess that’s it for the Blog and the rest of the year then.

At least we won’t be having any lootboxes in this title.

Ba dum tss.

Carnivius_Prime 11 December, 2017 @ 15:49

PS3? That’s like…super ancient…. and stuff…


OK, so the video is now available and it seems they’ve managed to cram PS2 graphics on to a PS3 during the height of the PS4. Truly cross-generational gaming!

(I won’t be too judgmental – maybe the gameplay is awesome – but I think it will be a very hard sell; very niche.)

PS3? No thanks, that was so 5 years ago. Outdated.

MiseryPrincess 11 December, 2017 @ 18:24

Does anyone else remember that surfboard for the DS2 controller you stuck on the two sticks?

Hopefully it will have support for that by default!!

This looks like hot garbage, I really don’t know what the Sonys PR is thinking here.


I love reading posts from people who “upgraded” from PS3 ages ago (you changed consoles, not upgraded – PS4 is not compatible with PS3 games). Surfing is not my cup of tea but I may check it out when there’s a discount on this title.

It’s a shame titles like this don’t get more support from Sony or government grants to have more work go into it. I only just bought the latest surfing game for PS4 “Surf World Series” which is brilliant and unfortunately “The Surfer” is immediately super-seeded by it in terms of graphics and most-likely gameplay as well. It would’ve been nice to have an Aussie surfing game take the title.


Hey Fonkee,

Thank you for your thoughts. Check out the game when you get a chance.

The Bungarra Team

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