What do you believe are the easiest and the toughest real world sport to translate into video games? My guess is Golf being the easiest since there are so few active objects at any given time.

I suspect you're asking from a technical perspective, since the "business" answer is that the easiest game to translate is the one that stands to make a good profit, and the hardest game to adapt is the one that won't sell. The number of active objects don't really matter all that much, we've got tech like the Dynasty Warriors games where we can have hundreds and thousands of moving dudes at once. Difficulty to adapt is also dependent on how much abstraction we're doing - today's Madden NFL 24 is an entirely different beast than 1988's John Madden Football was, even though both games are ostensibly translations of the same sport. Back in 1988, the biggest roadblock for the game was Madden himself insisting each football team needed to have 11 players on it and the hardware couldn't support that many.

From a technical perspective, I think the hardest sports to adapt have core features that are (currently) extremely expensive. Features such as:

  • Physical deformation - physical bodies contorting and deforming accurately when hitting each other
  • Signature movements and likenesses from well-known and familiar real life players
  • Real time environmental changes - rain causes players to get wet and changing their characteristics and animations, but also certain patches of the ground turn to mud, resulting in players getting muddy and difficulty traversing those areas

Thus, I think Rugby is probably the most technically difficult sport to chase after. American Football and Football/Soccer are probably close contenders as well.

Easy games to adapt tend to be the ones that need the fewest resources. Most games that are easy to adapt show up in compilation games like the Olympic type games. A 100m run or swim, for example, could take advantage of reusing a lot of resources (environments, animations, etc.) and don't have a high bar. Weight lifting games would be similarly low-effort for feasibility.

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