E3 2013: EA Sports UFC brings the pain
SPERTS! Believe it or not, but I happen to be a fan of at least one sport. You know the one. That noble art of punching one guy in the face harder than he can kick the heirs off of your man sack in return. I’m talking about fighting, and when it’s legal, it’s awesome. Take UFC for instance, which isn’t only a great spectacle, but might be a great game again soon.
This isn’t the first time that EA has worked on an MMA game before. Back in 2010, they released their own MMA title, an underrated experience with fluid controls and a great sense of landing haymakers. EA will be drawing from that experience according to EA Sports’ Dean Richards, but before they can do that, they’ll need some next-gen tech to set their game apart.
The first part of that strategy, from what I was shown, was to get accurate 3D scans of the UFC fighters into the game. That meant every single one, scanned from head to toe, in order to create those models. That included facial expressions, which ranged from aggressive to “oh my god, it’s not supposed to bend that way”.
Fair enough then, but what about the more subtle aspects of the human body? According to Richards, what games in that genre have lacked, is an accurate way to represent the human body when it decides to apply a choke hold or some fist to face technique.
That comes in the form of blood rushing to certain parts of the body, muscles working or cuts and scrapes opening up where they should, instead of where they were scripted to according to Richards. This also led to the studio working on new ways with which to implement how fighters interact with one another.
Richards demonstrated this aptly, with an image of two action figures locked in a Gracie embrace. That’s what current-gen games had done in the past Richards said, but there had been no real interaction whatsoever.
There’s a ton of work going into the game so far, but it’s still early days. Richards also mentioned an AI system that would actually try new strategies out on players during any time in a match in order to be more unpredictable, as well as a control scheme that was being designed to be accessible to newcomers, but deep for veterans.
While I didn’t get the chance to actually play the game, I have to admit that it looks next-gen so far, and that Richards is talking straight from the gut punch. THQ may not be producing anymore UFC games, but having EA take over might be one of the best decisions made for the franchise.