Electronic Arts' latest boxing game, FaceBreaker, featured over-the-top action with a cast of distinctively cartoonish fighters. Today the publisher revealed that its next game, the more straight-faced simulation Fight Night Round 4, will be fronted on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 by two of the most distinctive pugilists of all time.
When Fight Night Round 4 ships to retailers worldwide on June 30, the game will feature cover athletes Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. The charismatic Ali "shook up the world" at age 22 with an upset victory over the champ, Sonny Liston. Before his career was done, Ali made three different runs as the undisputed heavyweight champion, including such famous fights as 1974's "Rumble in the Jungle" versus George Foreman and 1975's "Thrilla in Manila" against Joe Frazier.
As much attention as Ali commanded in the ring, "The Greatest" was often the center of attention out of it as well. Never one to shy away from the causes he believes in, Ali has engaged in humanitarian efforts throughout the world. For his charitable works, Ali was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace from 1998-2008, and has been awarded Amnesty International's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.
Tyson rose to fame even faster than Ali to become the youngest heavyweight champion ever at the age of 20. However, after a shocking loss to James "Buster" Douglas four years later, Tyson's career began its precipitous decline. He was convicted of rape and served a multiyear prison sentence. After that, multiple attempted comebacks were cut short, one notably after Tyson was disqualified for twice biting the ear of his opponent, Evander Holyfield. Tyson lost his boxing license as a result of the infraction.
Starting in December, Electronic Arts polled fans on which of the two boxers they wanted to appear on the cover of Fight Night Round 4. Ali garnered 19 percent of the vote, whereas Tyson claimed more than twice that with 39.8 percent. The remaining 41.2 percent of voters wanted both fighters to share the cover.
Including its two cover stars, Fight Night Round 4 features a roster of more than 40 licensed boxers. EA is also promising a new gameplay engine to put an emphasis on speedy in-ring action and a new career-spanning Legacy Mode for created fighters.