During the Xbox One reveal this afternoon, EA announced a new UFC game as one of four in a group of new sports games coming to the next gen console. The game changed producers during last year’s E3, as a result of THQ’s financial struggles (and eventual bankruptcy). Dana White and EA announced their new found friendship with what seemed like reluctant acceptance; unsurprising given things he has said in the past about the company when it wouldn’t accept an offer for the UFC license.
This isn’t the first time EA has attempted to create an MMA game. After seeing the success THQ had with UFC they tried this previously with EA Sports MMA. However, the game didn’t have as many recognizable fighters, and didn’t do well. A lot of the comments on EA’s new acquisition of the license echoed this on Kotaku:
Yet this new UFC was highlighted among 3 other major sports games, including FIFA, Madden, and NBA Live. Although the reveal itself was slightly disappointing for hardcore gamers because of its general focus on sports, any UFC or MMA fan has to be excited about this new game’s potential.
The game will include the new features of the Xbox One, including a focus on the mental aspect of sports and not just the physical. It also claims to be more realistic to the point of even including a live dynamic crowd in sport games after athletes during the video highlights argue that the ‘roar of the crowd’ can stimulate a physical response as a player.
Most notably of course is EA’s Ignite engine claims to have what they call ‘Human Intelligence’, ‘True Player Motion’, and ‘Living Worlds’.
So what does this mean for the new UFC game?
As someone who is a UFC fan and who trains as a blue belt in jiu jitsu, this new game was around the most exciting thing I even got out of the Xbox reveal. Watching the live stream, and EA’s highlight videos gives me some high hopes. In the videos, you see Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones – who has largely been hailed as one of UFC’s greatest fighters – and featherweight contender Anthony Pettis talking about the importance of a mental game within the sport during EA’s Human Intelligence Trailer. I know that every trailer is made to make a game look good but a lot of what these two say make me hopeful that EA is actually listening.
During the video, Pettis states:
“The fight is going to be over in split seconds. The guy moves his hips an inch, you’re in trouble. If a guy gets his arm around your head and you don’t defend the right way you’re in trouble. It’s all about who can make their game play happen first.”
Anyone who knows jiu jitsu (or MMA) knows that this is true. Head control, hip control – these are all key elements in what can make and break fights. The tiniest change in your position can make all the difference between a failed technique and a successful one. I know not too long ago I was watching a fight, and the whole time the announcer was saying how the fighter needed to hip in more to get the takedown. Dominating in a fight can be done over the space of mere inches. Winning and losing is extremely mental, and I would go so far as to say maybe in MMA or other fight genres then any other sport.
“The way we think is what makes us all individuals.” – Jon Jones
In the end, I am hoping that EA can take the words of these fighters plus the hype they are building during the reveal by saying that “…all four (games) will be revolutionary and all four will change the way you game…”, and make something that is truly worthy of the slogan It’s in the game.