EA Sports MMA - First Look

We get our first glimpse of EA Sports' mixed martial arts game in action.

by

Up until this point, EA has been teasing us with bits and pieces of information on its upcoming mixed martial arts game. We knew a few of the fighters on the roster, including Fedor Emelianenko, Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Jason Miller, and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal. Thanks to an event scheduled the day before last week's Fedor-versus-Rogers fight, we know some additional members of the EA Sports MMA roster, and a little bit more about what the development team intends to do with the game to make it stand out.

This is Fedor's happy face.

But before jumping into any details about the game itself, EA revealed its partnership with Strikeforce as a premier league featured in MMA. This means that Strikeforce matches in the game will feature the same cage, ring announcer (Jimmy Lennon), and commentary team (Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo) that you see on TV. This doesn't mean that all fights are Strikeforce matches, but rather that it's potentially just one of many other leagues featured in the game. And finally, EA Sports announced that both Jake Shields (who would go on to win his fight the next night) and Brett Rogers (who lost to Fedor in the main event match that same night) would be available on the EA Sports MMA roster.

With that out of the way, executive producer Dale Jackson took to the stage to give an overview of the gameplay, and from the very outset it's obvious that EA is putting a lot of focus in one particular area: making fighters behave much as they would in a real fight. "The example I can give you is Fight Night Round 4," says Jackson. "When you play with Ali, he fights like Ali. That's what you have to capture. There are no two guys that go out there in the ring that are an exact, mirror copy. [You have to] learn how to adjust to people's styles and take advantage of [their weaknesses and strengths]. That's what I don't think you've seen in an [MMA] game before."

"[THQ's UFC] game is button masher game to be real with you," adds MMA fighter King Mo, who was on hand to talk about EA Sports MMA and answer some questions. "It takes no real skill to be good at the UFC game. It's not even that realistic. You can pick Rampage and submit everyone with arm bars. In this game, every person is realistic."

The first few seconds of the demo illustrated part of Jackson's point. It showed Fedor's and Rogers' unique stances in the cage--Fedor bounces side to side on the balls of his feet, while Rogers takes a flat-footed stance. As the fighters move away from each other to opposite sides of the ring, they drop their hands. We then see some of their respective strikes. Then, Fedor showed off a massive overhand punch--almost like the one he used to knock out Rogers the next night. Meanwhile, Rogers' strikes are a little more orthodox, nothing fancy about them, but there's a lot of power behind every punch. "Those are some of the subtleties that make a difference and can help you identify fighters," says Jackson. "If you go out and start throwing strikes with Brett [Rogers] versus Fedor or any other fighters in the game, you're going to notice a difference in the way they play and how you operate them."

EA Sports MMA runs on a modified version of the Fight Night Round 4 engine.

Next, we saw some of the finer points of fighting. First were hit reactions, which showed that a fighter's reaction to strikes changes the longer a fight progresses. This opens up opportunities that you wouldn't normally have at the beginning of a fight. For example, if a fighter has a weakened leg, it makes him less mobile and potentially more susceptible to a takedown from his opponent. We then got a glimpse of some parrying and countering with Fedor throwing a kick at Rogers and Rogers catching it.

Since Rogers is more of a stand-up fighter (and not one to take a fight to the ground, especially against someone like Fedor), he throws a few punches while holding Fedor's foot. Conversely, when Fedor catches one of Rogers' kicks, he takes him down to the ground. Still, every fighter in the game has a basic set of skills, so while Rogers may not be a submission fighter, if he sees that Fedor has a weakened arm, he might still be able to pull off an arm bar if the opportunity presents itself. "Everything we have in the game, we have to think how we could make it so a stand-up striker or a wrestler who wants to stay on his feet can stay within their game plan or stay within their comfort zone or take someone out of their comfort zone," Jackson explains. "If we had this and the only thing you could do is take a guy to the ground every time you caught a kick--as a stand-up striker, I'm in a miserable spot." It's also worth pointing out that in situations like this (or when you're on the ground in the guard position) either fighter can throw strikes at any time. Or to be more specific, you don't have to wait for one fighter's punch animation to finish before the other can throw a punch, so either combatant can let the fists fly in any position. We saw a little bit of this when Fedor and Rogers were in a clinch, continually maneuvering their arms and body position to set up a strike or a takedown.

Strikeforce matches will be featured in the game.

At the end of the presentation, the EA representatives controlling Fedor and Rogers went at it for a bit. We saw Rogers give Fedor a pretty good knee to the head when Fedor shot in from too far away. If anything, the entire presentation and demo showed that EA is really trying to make the fighters in EA Sports MMA as authentic to their real-life counterparts as possible, and from a visual standpoint, the team is well on its way to accomplishing that goal. But we're still interested in how the game controls. We were told that there will be fully customizable controls available, but the default setup (which maps strikes to the right analog stick) is designed to take full advantage of the complexities of the sport that arise in different situations. We're also eager to learn more about the different arenas EA has planned for the game. We got a brief glimpse of several different arenas (or training areas), including a traditional dojo, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gym, and what appeared to be a boxing ring. EA Sports MMA is scheduled for release in 2010 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Discussion

58 comments
rapboy_905
rapboy_905

@MrCha1nsaw I know what I am talking about, because what I am talking about is my opinion which is that pretty much every MMA or UFC fight I have ever seen ends up in submission holds which, no-one can rightly deny, resemble men cuddling on the ground. This is boring to watch. It also does not happen in K1.

nunchuckgun
nunchuckgun

the fact that ufc is so main stream is why its gonna out sell this game, im not a huge mma fan but i know pretty much all the ufc fighters, undisputed 09 was a pretty legit game and from what theyve been sayin 10 is gonna be hot, the way they commented on it being a "button mashing game" is just whack, if you button mash when i fight you in ufc i take you down and your stuck there, in a ufc interview they said "easy to pick up, difficult to master" i saw fnr4 last year and just by hearing about playing with the analog to punch drew me away from the game.. this might end up being a better game but if its overly technical to the point that picking it up just to test it isnt fun, then theyre gonna lose because video games are supposed to be fun, i think EAs mma will be the gran tourismo of the mma games and undisputed will be the need for speed...and if i boil it down to that...90% of the time id rather play need for speed haha

jcmoflo
jcmoflo

@ Hellswarm02.... They might be able to sign some Dream fighters since Strikeforce is in talks to do some co-promoting, but Pride FC is done - the UFC bought it out and there is no way EA gets any of the current UFC signed ex Pride fighters. As for the others that they didn't sign, if they're signed to a good promoter you might get your wish.

Darkestrah
Darkestrah

graphics looks eye popping. seriously the graphics is top notch. i hope the gameplay will be realistic as much as possible. man look at those details. great work on graphics again EA.

Omaciel
Omaciel

THIS IS GONNA BE LEGIT I

tobelight
tobelight

First off have to say Im a HUGE ufc fan and will watch ufc on tv over any other mma event or fight. ( i watch all of em regardless) However Undisputed was an ok attempt at a mma game but got old and boring very quick. You only had a handful of fighters in each weight class and single player mode sucked cause of it. Fight Night 4 is AWESOME. And with EA making this new mma game it shouldnt go bad. I think this is gonna be a great game and should have no problem making Undisputed look like a PS2 game. Sorry UFC but THQ didnt do a good job

Dark_Infinite
Dark_Infinite

graphics look siiick. although since this is a different company they may change up a few things like button controls and what not if its gonna be like FNR4 controls that would be intense.

buft
buft

its whack to diss the UFC game just because its not as realistic as fight night,the fact is UFC is a great game and with the difficulty ramped up you need to play to your characters strengths and get a good game plan. if MMA is half as fun as UFC it will still be a good game so im looking forward to it as well but truth be told i would be more excited to see where UFC takes it next

Doolz2024
Doolz2024

Sounds good, I'm not a big MMA fan, but this game interests me just because I like FNR4 so much. I enjoy punching with the right stick instead of mashing buttons! This game looks like it'll be much better than UFC Undisputed. I played the demo for it, and it wasn't that good. All you do is just mash buttons and try to land a big shot. No strategy involved, just mashing buttons

Rumlen
Rumlen

Can't wait for this game. They should try and sign some retired ufc hall of famers to bolster their fighter roster. Either way looks likes its gonna be a great game.

FR0STB1TE410
FR0STB1TE410

looks pretty sweet.. hope the controls aren't like fight night.. that would be lame.

Hellswarm02
Hellswarm02

They should sign with the Pride FC or DREAM, get some goodies like Cro Cop in there

Kobayashi_Sumisugu
Kobayashi_Sumisugu

FowlBeast. I read on the EA MMA forums that it seems that EA does have a big player from Sengoku signed on, though they haven't announced who it is yet.

devil-neva-cry
devil-neva-cry

Panteiakos - trust me this will be a better GAME then undisputed. while UFC may have some of the top fighters in the world they dont have all of them. i suggest you look up a few of DREAM's fights online.

M-Yu
M-Yu

Randy Couture's gonna be in it

Panteiakos
Panteiakos

Well about the roster. I didn't use to be an MMA fan so UFC roster was unknown to me. I only knew lesnar. So.. this time ain't different for me and for most gamers in the world especially outside USA and some certain countries which are familiar with the sport. I can say that UFC undi made a an MMA fan ( well u have to start from somewhere). I feel strange that there won't be any UFC stars in there but as long as the game is good is damn fine with me. I guess i ll get familiar with the roster this time as well.

houdeany
houdeany

graphics look very nice. i'm not big on mma (mates are), but i hope they do a good job, cos it looks good. I wonder if they'll get Anderson Silva on here?

mcgravy88
mcgravy88

looks like it could give Undisputed a run for it's money

91210user
91210user

The 6 year old kid down the street is going to steal this from me when I purchase this game.

joe_lvc
joe_lvc

at last fedor the last emperor!

FowlBeast
FowlBeast

This game will most likely be great. I'm a MMA fan first, so I'm very familiar with all the fighters. EA should really try to pull for Dream & Sengoku fighters, like Omigawa, Dan Hornbuckle. And now that Zuromskis signed to strikeforce he's a shoe in (your face). The rooster can only get better & hopefully they can improve on Undisputed style sub spamming & such.

bsx121
bsx121

they shouldnt bring strikeforce into the game

shavedballbag
shavedballbag

@ flint101_7 If EA would have gotten the UFC contract then we would be in store for crap games year after year.

jboxer82
jboxer82

HAHA. I guess now EA knows how 2K felt like when they were tryin to make a football game without an NFL license. Exclusive contracts SUCK.

scorch0188
scorch0188

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KDIDDY78
KDIDDY78

river? huh?...ufc IS a button mashing game. im 180 - 60 or something like that...this game is fun but gets lame fast! everyone has the same moves...ea mma should be a better game and i hope ufc steps it up so i can play my fav fighters

RiversKid
RiversKid

Bull!!!!!!! UFC Undisputed is not a frickin button masher!!!!! This game may have better graphics, but like someone else said: who cares if you don't know who you're playing with. **** you Dale Jackson, it's almost impossible to tap someone out with Rampage!

wils0n177
wils0n177

A lot fo people are bashing the UFC game, but it was a big step in the right direction and the first MMA game that was even descent. This game looks good but they haven't adressed the controls much and that is the make or break point for a game like this. Even if the gameplay crushes Undisputed its sales will not show it because the average gamer doesn't care about MMA unless its UFC, Fedor is the only name that is even somewhat recognizable to the general public. Our best hope is that better gameplay here will equate to mor eimprovement in the next UFC installment.

Evandemocracy
Evandemocracy

I dont like the way they made the mma arena if you put a square in the center it would look like a taping of ECW in the mid 90's with the god awful small arena that doesnt seem to look right

pablohammy
pablohammy

they already made ufc game,waste of money.if mma is not ufc usally no one gives a crap.not saying its gona be bad,just ill have no clue who im fighting with

SkeetWeetSlappy
SkeetWeetSlappy

this sure has good graphics but i dont really need this type of game

pungaboy
pungaboy

I don't know how much I care about the missing UFC fighters... I mean, yeah, it would be nice to have them, but there are probably just as many awesome fighters that aren't currently in the UFC as there are in it - Especially if EA decides to go the Fight Night route and license some of the more legendary fighters that have since retired...

controlz101
controlz101

i can't wait for this. thq (ufc) might be in trouble. I would of rather had way fewer fighters(cause they all fight the same) with better gameplay and modes. hope ea can really pull this off.

MrCha1nsaw
MrCha1nsaw

The UFC has a ton better fighters than are in Strikeforce. I do see this game being a lot better than UFC 09 was. And @rapboy_905....learn to know what you're talking about.

Dawnfury87
Dawnfury87

@DFen : If they are ''killing'' the other franchises , it may be because their game is slightly better :P

DubYew
DubYew

Competition breeds excellence, it's true for MMA and it's true for MMA games.

flint101_7
flint101_7

Yeah can't wait :D if only EA got the Contract for the UFC also

rapboy_905
rapboy_905

Someone needs to make a decent K1 game, it would be more fast paced and have none of that cuddling on the floor crap. p.s. UFC sucks.

bennae66
bennae66

strikeforce just isnt ufc. it never was, it never will be. oh, and im not talking about the game. mma fans will know what im talking about. (however i do support the industry as a whole, mma must flourish.) but strikeforce to ufc is like pepsi to coke. we all know which one truly rules the world

Flawless_Gamer
Flawless_Gamer

fight night round 4 engine this game is going to be amazing !!

sleepychicken
sleepychicken

Oh, and it's cool the fighters look real. Everyone in THQ's game was ripped and had a six pack.

sleepychicken
sleepychicken

Looks promising. I didn't like UFC. It was way too mechanical and stiff feeling. It lacked the fluidity of a mma fight. That was one of Fight Nights strong suits is the fluidity and context sensitive gameplay. I will miss the UFC license and it's fighters but hopefully this will be a better game.

johnnybadass666
johnnybadass666

Strikeforce is for reject ufc fighters i think this game will be fun nonetheless

DFen
DFen

there goes ea again trying to take another game companies spotlight. First they release skate which killed the tony hawk franchise, fifa which killed pes and now this suppose to kill ufc undisputed come on ea why dont u guys just work on a better need for speed game or something lol

Doe-Gahh
Doe-Gahh

I hope Cung Le's in the roster.

chesucks
chesucks

C*** Lesnar, Mir need to man-up and follow Fedor to Strikeforce. And the cowards in the ufc need fight at their natural weight, instead of destroying smaller fighters.