How EA Sports UFC Wants to Show Off PS4 and Xbox One Potential

EA talks about attempting to make a game with graphics so good that even those who aren't interested in UFC will buy it.

I'm entranced by the sight of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones' rippling pectoral muscles bouncing around the Octagon. That's me, by the way. Lying on the ground is Alexander Gustafsson, the other guy, whose stomach rises and falls with each simulated breath, seconds before Jones crash lands on top of him into a flurry of punches, quickly securing victory by TKO. I win! Sure, it's not the most refined and discerning train of thought I've ever had, but I'm spending a lot of my time ogling the graphics. Because, captured at the right angle, watching a round of EA Sports UFC play out is mesmerising.

EA Sports UFC is both EA's first title to only support Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and its first entry in the UFC license after the publisher and UFC owner Dana White resolved their "war" from back in 2009 this time last year to become best friends, honest. But developer EA Canada now has a new battle of its own to solve; much of its potential playerbase almost certainly don't know how to throw a proper punch, let alone handle the multiple combat disciplines on display in MMA. How is it possible to strive for a sense of authenticity when almost all of the game's players won't be able to actually understand it? The solution, at least to me, seems to be to capture the recognisable sense and feel of the UFC broadcasts, emulating the the way the sport looks on TV than rather how it plays out in real life.

Emulating the way UFC is broadcast is something EA has obsessed over. "Our replay and presentation cameras mimic the stuff that fans are used to seeing," says creative director Brian Hayes. "When you throw something in there that is 'video gamey', like if we're going to attach a camera to the fist as it flies towards your opponents face, that's something that, although it can look cool, immediately snaps you out of the immersion," he continues, arguing that such a mechanic would take away "the sense that you're actually watching a real event."

"I think, as a general philosophy, EA Sports is really focused on striving for more authentic sports broadcast presentation," Hayes adds. It's a very different approach from EA's last attempt with the sport in 2010's ill-fated MMA, which showed an x-ray camera when dealing with submissions. UFC, on the other hand, has submission attempts play out via an octagon-shaped mini-game, and it's the one moment of gaminess in an otherwise painstaking emulation. Like Hayes said, even this tiny detraction cracks the illusion.

One of the most daunting parts of an MMA game is capturing the amount of martial arts disciplines and the various elements of a fight--striking, grappling, submissions, the ground game--into an understandable control system. The four face buttons control striking, with attacks modified by the bumpers. The right trigger is a general purpose block, though it can be modified to specifically, and more effectively, guard high or low attacks by pressing a punch or kick button. Time a block just right and you'll leave your opponent open to a counterattack, in a fashion similar to EA Canada's Fight Night series.

But that's all the stuff that's easy to understand, basically. "People almost instinctively understand standing in front of somebody and throwing punches and kicks, because there's a long history of games--whether it be Fight Night, Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, or Tekken--where you stand at striking range and throw different strikes at an opponent that can block, and defend, and move. But when things go to the ground? That's where everybody is a little bit lost."

I know I am. I've done my best to avoid taking fights to the ground in every UFC game I've ever played. But EA's take on the series has opted to make this part of an MMA brawl more lethal than previous titles. Matches can easily be won or lost by securing an advantageous position on the floor. "It's the thing that varies the most from any [UFC] game that's come before us," adds Hayes."

Be warned, then: those who pick up UFC at launch and intend to take it online might have to deal with a lot of submission attempts coming their way in the first few weeks. "At the beginning of the EA Sports UFC lifespan there will be people that are the Royce Gracies' at UFC 1," Hayes predicts. "The people that take the time to learn the submission game, and dominate so many other people, until they realise how to handle submissions and level the playing field. There will definitely be an upside for users who take the time to learn the submission side and get good at it."

There's more risk and danger, then, as players frantically tussle to get into, or get out of, the full mount with quarter-circle spins of the right analog stick. Most new players tend to lose their cool at this point, Hayes says. "As soon as a fight goes to the ground and people are playing for the first time, they just starting hitting every single controller input they possibly can. It's always better to try and do one thing, see if it works, and if not try something different. Don't try eight things at the same time."

Overall, Hayes argues that this lethal ground game will work out after players take the time to adjust to it. "If it doesn't seem dangerous then the impetus for you to learn, and grow, and get better, is lessened."

Hayes is also expecting that some people will pick up UFC based on the strength of its visuals, in a situation reminiscent of Fight Night Round 3 during the last console generation. "We knew that the performance of Fight Night Round 3, as a boxing game, really outpaced the popularity of boxing as a sport. It really performed the way it did on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 because people had just gotten these new gaming consoles, and it was one of the first games that came out that people said 'oh yeah, that's why my PlayStation 2 isn't good enough anymore.'"

"So we saw the exact same opportunity [with EA Sports UFC]. It's why we've spent so much effort on making the game look like it does. People will have purchased their Xbox One or their PlayStation 4, and they're going to be looking for something that makes them happy about their decision to upgrade. That's one of the things we really focused on."

As a developer heavily invested in the strength of their graphics, then, how is EA Canada finding working across the Xbox One and PS4. What console is easier for developers to work with? "The technology in each box is slightly different. The game on PS4 looks slightly different from Xbox One because of, like, black levels, and different things. If somebody asked me: what's better black levels? I don't know. That's really up to you."

Hayes also adds that the game's tech guys were looking at the possibility of having the game run at a higher resolution on PS4 in time for the game's launch: the UFC demo runs at 1600x900, according to a Digital Foundry report. "They were looking at whether or not we could have the PS4 [version run] at a higher resolution," he says, "but whether or not their investigations were successful? I don't know at this time."

EA Sports UFC will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on June 17.

Written By

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor

Want the latest news about EA Sports UFC?

EA Sports UFC

EA Sports UFC

Discussion

169 comments
daddy_dre82
daddy_dre82

Idk why there is so much hype for this game i mean i tried the demo and its the same ea game i played years ago for ps3 aggravating controls meaningless hits feels like u punchn a pillow its soft and it feels forced in its release and the kicks and punches at the same time look kidesh its not worth 20 dollars of my time in money this is not a good fighging game in my opion i did enjoy fight night champion but these controls in graphics and overall gameplay is poor weak in not important too play

naymleswon
naymleswon

I don't understand what is up with all the hate for this game? I've downloaded the Demo and I enjoyed the game. a few glitches here and there but still a solid fighting sim. I've played the THQ UFC games since the first undisputed and yes I agree its different but THAT'S THE POINT. it's a different company doing a remake of a series. It's like Godzilla from 1954 and Godzilla in 2014. Same name Different movie.

If you (the haters) are hating this game because its EA then grow up, or make a game yourself then talk smack, but most likely these haters are some lazy ass people with nothing better to do then to talk crap about other peoples work.

for those who are interested

The punches and kicks are smooth and the KOs are awesome. Ground game is still annoying but different (using the R-stick Fight night style) the Graphics are so good sometimes I forget its a game when they do the transitions. Commentary is on the money, you KO someone with a hook or a kick and they ACTUALLY say the move you KOd them with. Overall I was impressed by the demo and I'll be looking forward for the full release. btw Win for Bruce Lee being in the game.

klakier82
klakier82

I was looking forward to play this and finally buy a next gen console ... well , not anymore. I'll stick to Undisputed 3 instead and MK X. over and out. 

FBohler
FBohler

Graphics looks good. Period.

Urizen316
Urizen316

What a horrible game. Ufc Undisputed was better in almost every way.

EA UFC is just a reason for EA not to throw away the EA MMA engine, which they should've in my opinion. Punches lack any form of impact, which they've tried to compensate with an overabundance of sweat flying that looks ridiculous.

The controls are convoluted and unintuitive. Not even that, you can easily spam high kicks, roundhouses, superman punches and flying knees, and they don't do a damn thing! There are no flash ko's as far as I've bothered to notice and 2 people doing roundhouses looks dreadful with the horrible collision detection.

They spend an incredible amount of time on the graphics that look great (not as great as entrance cinematics and ingame graphics that we were promised) and the grimaces and bodymorphing look superb, but there is no way we can admire those when performing a submission because of the riduculous amount of cluttered interface on the screen.

The groundgame itself is an utter fail and vastly inferior to THQ's now deceased iterations.

TKO's are moronic... You get to full mount, punch a few times and you get up.. No ref pulling you off nothing. When you knock somebody down and go in for the kill, you get half warped while barely hitting the guy with a punch only to get up later after 2 punches.

This game is a joke, I was really looking forward to this. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not anymore. Not even sure if I would get it for 20 bucks, it's really bad...

terrain600
terrain600

this @leonitrus dude  is a UFC d**k rider . He's all over the comments. LMAO



YEPEE00
YEPEE00

um...Wow he's talking about me. seriously, i liked everything in the demo. except the submission/wrestling stuff but i'll buy it and hope i just missed something or just did not read something right.

shpalamana
shpalamana

 I don't understand why EA went so different with the control scheme for this new game. The THQ scheme wasn't perfect, but in comparison to EA"S demo it certainly is. This new system is absolute garbage. No dodging on the mat while your opponent is postured up. No catching incoming strike in bottom position. Half of the punches that do damage are half hearted attempts at a swing. On the PS4 version of the demo I defeated Jon Jones only landing 16/25 strikes with no significant strikes 1:01 in the 1st round.. I know the demo is on easy but please. All i had to do was counter any swing he attempted and lay into him with a swift left roundhouse kick ( hold away from your opponent, hit x button.) 9/10 times it went unblocked.  Its really disappointing to know that the series is in for this kind of treatment. If this is the future of MMA gaming count me out


cpenney25
cpenney25

There are a few things preventing me from buying this when it gets released. First thing, The ko's. When the game determines a fighter is Ko'd the match ends, You can't follow up like you see in a real fight, The ref doesn't stop it the game ends and it just looks simply bad. Punching and kicking into the air over the downed opponent when you should be able to at least go for the follow up strikes and have the ref pull you off and stop it. THQ even had that much done right. Another thing is the ground strikes. They are all like rabbit punches, Even when you are propped up in full mount and reigning down what should be bombs they have no sense of power in them even when you are connecting flush. And the last thing is the movesets. Maybe its just like that for the demo ? But there is no way as gustaffsson you should be throwing like 360 spinning kicks. 


There are a few other minor things that bother me about it but it may just have been excluded from the demo alone? Like no scoredcards after a decision. And no ability to touch gloves or taunt. Imo THQ had the little things down good by the time they released undisputed 3. Aside from graphics imo EA has improved on nothing with this game , Actually I think they went many steps backwards for the more hardcore MMA fans this game is looking pretty terrible. It's got a very arcadey feel with lots of immersion breaking details for those who were hoping for a realistic MMA sim type game. Just my 5 cents.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

Controls suck, so it really doesn't matter how photorealistic the models look.  EA MMA was alright, but they need to just get back to fight night, it's not 2005 who cares about mma anymore?

ascendedcobra
ascendedcobra

I played the demo and yes it looks good. The controls are a bit complicated like the last one. I'm not sure where all the hate is coming from in these comments though. People act like if they make the graphics good then something else will suffer. You know it's possible to have good graphics and good game play right?

Sir_Claude
Sir_Claude

When you decide to make a new FIght Night, i'll be content EA...

Riomadoro
Riomadoro

Im Gaming near 30 Years.I have begann with Philips G7000 over Amiga 500 to Nintendo, Sony , Sega , Microsoft, near all Consoles.But now after the last 4 Years ,EA makes bad mistakes.The Wrong Way to make Gamers realy Happy, the dont know what is a must have Titel.Sorry EA but is the truth.

jato24
jato24

This game weak.  The demo turned me off.  All I Know is Madden best be done right.

theziemboat
theziemboat

Bruce Buffer sounds like Chef from South Park when he stopped doing recordings and they had to patch his phrases together

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Why did they take the fatalities out of this UFC game?  I could have swore I chopped a guy's head off in a previous UFC game...

hotwog21
hotwog21

theres that word again, POTENTIAL


what a joke.


Microsoft, if you want any chance make ur console backward compatible with 360 and xbox live arcade games.

enable chat between 360 and xbox one.


until then choke on your poor sales

angelicsypher
angelicsypher

EA made an MMA game a few years ago featuring Bas Rutten that was amazing. They used the right stick for the striking and the buttons for the different grapples and takedowns. The striking felt so real and the ground game was really good. But they went totally ass backwards with this EA sports UFC. The controls are very bulky and not smooth at all. Being a big fan of the prior EA MMA game I am very disappointed and probably will not buy the game.

imajinn
imajinn

EA is so out of touch with the reality of a gamers thought process. 

"graphics so good that even those who aren't interested in UFC will buy it."

No.... they won't. No one who is uninterested in the UFC, is gonna see it and go "Hey that looks so good! Look at the pretty lights and kicks and punches. I'm gonna buy this!".  Maybe someone will pick up the controller, and from there decide if the game play is good for them, then pick it up. Effin EA... tools.


I, for one, didn't think the demo looked all of the amazing they are saying. Also, from the over complicated control scheme, not something I would buy, and I love the UFC.

mastertien123
mastertien123

The referee and the announcer looks not as realistic when compare with the fighters which makes the game feel kinda out of place . And man , that announcer sucks pretty bad . Don't know much about gameplay though as i haven't play UFC games yet .

Sideways8_4ever
Sideways8_4ever

i tried the demo, and the amount of different input options is staggering. honestly, its intimidating and its seriously making me considering waiting at least 6 months to get this game when the price drops for a used copy. anyone else share my feelings at all?

guitargladiator
guitargladiator

focusing on graphics will be the downfall of many games this gen. 

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

Meh. Doesn't look too much different then their last UFC game. 


I'd like to see them change when you pick someone up and slam them next to the cage it doesn't slide you out a foot so the characters don't clip through the cage (check min 3:15 on the above video). I mean can't they make the characters ragdoll so they fit against the cage. Looks silly when they magically slide away. And here's EA taking about "immersion". lol

smackdowner360
smackdowner360

The game is horrible with the ea mma sports controls.THQ had the controls down with the series.EA destroyed the game which is a shame.I'm trying to make myself like it but its no use its just horrible.So gonns skip buying it and just rent it.Guess ill be waiting on sunset overdrive in august or september

IJONOI
IJONOI

I'm really trying to like this game, but I just don't think it feels right. I didn't play the THQ one so it's not because of that. It looks fantastic, but just plays a bit 'clunky' and unrealistic in my opinion. The take down defence and the submission 'mini game' are outright retarded. 

mbounce88
mbounce88

UFC games have been the only fighting games I have liked since the days of Mortal Kombat and Sf 2 in the 90's on sega.. I like the demo but wish they would have kept the buttons more like the last UFC game.. It was almost perfect IMO and was deep, but easy to use.. I will be buying this game..

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

Also, you want non UFC fans to get into the game, cut down on the UFC ness of the game and focus on the MMA ness of the game. Having Dana White get silly about skipping the tutorial was a total eye roll.

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

As pretty as it is, I didn feel like i was in a fight, or competing in an MMA match. I keep playing the demo but in all honesty not a single match went to the third round, no matter how I tried to fight. Investing in a long bout in hopes of draining his stamina did nothing when two hits eithher end the fight for me or him. The entire nature and flow of an MMA fight just was not present. I am going to rentt this game as I am sure the demo is cutting alot of material but that is still a bad excuse on EA's side. And this statement from the article doesnt just make EA look bad, it makes the industry look bad.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

It is beautiful, but gets a little overly complex.  Even having to press different buttons to block high and low, why not just the block button plus up or down on the left stick, like so many other games?

Even still, a pretty fun game.

alschwayz
alschwayz

Does anyone know how to utilize the octagon fence by leaping off it for a strike? (PS4)


itchyflop
itchyflop

@FBohler yeah my thoughts exactly. im not paying 50 quid for it though.

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

That's just this new breed of hipster "gameplay is all that matters" dbag crowd. Ignore them, they'll eventually make their way back to their NES's.

toakr
toakr

@jato24 I don't feel like UFC ever had really great gameplay. But Madden does. There may be a few things people don't like about Madden, but all in all, its comfortable and easy enough to play that you don't have to think too much while playing it. I think the biggest argument against Madden is that there isn't enough change year to year to justify having to pay another 60 for a roster change. But if they can make a graphics jump comparable to this... I don't think there's anything to worry about.

sephirothsfan02
sephirothsfan02

ufc games have always had complicated controls, there's no way around it. All you noobs will achieve is to get ea to dumb down the franchise!

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

@Sideways8_4ever totally dude its too much imput, plus you fight like 3 seconds then your but naked on the ground for 45 mins till you said this is not manly time to play titanfall

Javier
Javier

@Sideways8_4ever  Same here, found all the required inputs overly complicated and the graphics, while nice, nothing too special. I was more impressed when Fight Night showed up a few years back.

Dizzy1976
Dizzy1976

@guitargladiator wondering if "next gen" with ever refer to the games mechanics rather than the graphics  lol Probably never will.

mbounce88
mbounce88

@DevilD2005 Get silly? You def shouldn't skip the tutorial unless you want to stink at this game.. Even after playing the tutorial I had to type in UFC 14 instruction booklet to remember most of the moves


reptilexcq
reptilexcq

@DevilD2005 

Some of my bouts when to the 3rd rounds so i don't know what you're talking about.

mbounce88
mbounce88

@DevilD2005 time to go fight in the cage yourself I guess.. We have to remember these still are just video games!

leonitrus
leonitrus

@alschwayz The cage has to be at your side for the most part. Your stance has to be facing it. Like if you're in orthodox and on the left of the screen, you should be near the cage at the bottom of your screen. Do a SM punch or flying knee and it will auto do it for you.

imajinn
imajinn

@sephirothsfan02 I have been playing UFC games since the Dreamcast. I am far from a noob, trust me. This control scheme is horrid in comparison to THQs control scheme, which was perfect. You can spout out name calling all day. It does not change that fact.

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

Lmfao, what's the problem? Should they revert back to dpad and A + B buttons only. I mean ffs, game controls on a console are never that complicated.

smackdowner360
smackdowner360

@imajinn I feel the same way the controls are horrible.I've also been playing ufc games since the dreamcast days and ea ufc is the worst i have played yet.

Sideways8_4ever
Sideways8_4ever

@Dissentioncc its not the controls at all. its the number of button combinations you need to do to do simple, specific things. i would have hoped they would have revamped the control system from undisputed, but alas, they didn't. it is still the same complicated system, if not worse than before.