The public slanging match between THQ and EA’s competing mixed martial arts franchises has been heating up of late, with both sides more than happy to take shots at each other, including UFC VP Don Gold and MMA fighter King Mo. EA is the latest to take a swing, unveiling more details on EA Sports MMA at an event held overnight at GDC 2010.
While our last look at the game focused more on what EA’s overall goals were when it came to transferring the brutal sport of mixed martial arts to home consoles, EA’s GDC event got more granular, unveiling a few tidbits on how the game would control. As was previously hinted, EA Sports MMA will use a system called total strike control, a modified version of the right-stick focused controls found in Fight Night Round 4. Players will use the right stick for all strikes, with different stick movements resulting in different attacks (flicking down and up, for example, will make your fighter attempt his version of a roundhouse). Holding down the left bumper will modify the attacks to become leg moves, while moves will also change depending on the distance your fighter is away from his opponent. If you’re not a fan of the right stick, then EA still has you covered: All of these moves can also be assigned to your controller’s face buttons.
While EA let out some details about standing attacks, it still didn’t unveil the control scheme for defense, clinches, or ground moves. One thing EA reps did confirm, however, is that a controller’s rumble functionality will be used when fighters are grappling on the ground. When on the mat, rumbling will indicate that your opponent is trying to move position, giving you a tactile indication of what your opponent is planning and allowing you to perform a countermove should your skills permit.
When it comes to finally taking down your opponent, each fighter will sport both a stamina and health meter (although the only visible one on the heads-up display will be stamina). Your stamina will decrease with missed blows, prolonged clinches, or constant movement, and it will regenerate with time, but its total value will slowly decrease as the match progresses. As for health, each fighter will have three health measurements--head, gut, and legs. Each measurement will be tracked individually, with more strikes to each area affecting fighters in specific ways. And, yes, fighters will display damage specific to where they’ve been hit. In our hands-off demo, we saw plenty of cuts resulting from successful head strikes, with the blood splashing on the mat and opponents in a realistic but grizzly manner.
While that was about all EA chose to disclose about gameplay at its GDC event, it did let out more detail about the game generally. First up, while the Strikeforce organisation would indeed be one of the promotions featured within the game, the hexagon won’t be the only type of arena players will battle in within EA Sports MMA. Circular and square rings will also be featured, as will three different rule sets: unified (which allows elbow strikes), Japanese (which allows foot stomps), and Strikeforce rules.
The final bits of information we gleaned about the upcoming MMA game came from the demo fight EA showed at its GDC event; a fight that featured Nick Diaz and Cung Le. First up, as you’d expect from an EA Sports game, presentation was top notch, with each fighter receiving a flashy ring intro before the match (complete with his own music and walk down the ramp). From the loading screen, it looks like fighters in EA Sports MMA will be rated on the attributes of stand up, clinch, ground, submission, and health. They will also be able to focus on one specific fight style. Real-life MMA personalities will make appearances, including announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. and former UFC ref John McCarthy. Once within the fighting arena, fighters will also exhibit unique stances depending on their specialities: Cung Le, for example, stood in a classic martial arts pose, while jujitsu expert Nick Diaz sported a more fists-in-the-air stance.
EA Sports MMA is looking impressive, and we can’t wait to finally get our hands on the game to see if the game can match the looks. Look for more on this mixed martial arts game in the coming months on GameSpot.