Pride, THQ's recently announced PlayStation 2 brawler, is based on the mixed martial-arts competition from Japan. Pride challenges fighters from several different fighting disciplines including wrestling, karate, judo, and kickboxing to fight by the same rules in one-on-one matches. The task of capturing the unique feel of Pride bouts in a game falls on seasoned Japanese developer Anchor. The company's experience working on the original Ultimate Fighting Championship game for the Dreamcast and WWF Raw for the Xbox makes it ideally suited to the task of bringing Pride to a home console. We talked with the game's producer, Sanders Keel, about what to expect from the game when it ships this summer.
GameSpot: How is development on the PS2 hardware going? Are you getting the performance you want out of the console?
Sanders Keel: Yes, Pride has been coming along very smoothly. Anchor is a very talented development team, and they are showing their skills on the PlayStation 2.
GS: Aside from the setting, how will Pride be different from the Ultimate Fighting Championship game you developed for the Dreamcast?
SK: Pride takes a huge step forward in terms of gameplay. There are many positions to fight from, as well as tons of new moves and reversals not seen in the UFC games. These moves and reversals are much more realistic than anything in the UFC game, and much more strategy and skill are required to win a match in Pride. Also, each fighter will have realistic moves based on his actual skills.
GS: Were you able to get all the fighters who also fight under the UFC license? Specifically, Mark Kerr, Mark Coleman, Guy Mezger, Gary Goodridge, and others?
SK: Mark Kerr, no. I don't think he even fights anymore--well, at least not for Pride. Gary, yes. As for the rest of the fighters, we have not announced whether they are in or not, but expect more on the final roster soon.
GS: The referees in Pride are more active than the refs in the UFC. What effect will the referee have in the upcoming Pride game, if any?
SK: We decided to not have the referee onscreen during the match. We just don't want him in the way. There will be officials before the match to explain the rules, and so on.
GS: Will fighters be able to interact with the ring ropes? Will grappling fighters be reset in the center of the ring if they stray too close to the ropes?
SK: Yes and yes. We have translated all the details from the actual matches to the game.
GS: Will we see the half guard or the side mount?
SK: Only for certain moves for some fighters, mainly Brazilian jujitsu guys. This is not a transitional position yet. We added some other positions such as the clinch, the back clinch, the sprawl, butt-scooting with a standing opponent, and so on.
GS: Will fighters wearing shoes be allowed to kick? Ken Shamrock and Mark Coleman come to mind as examples.
SK: Yes, they will be able to.
GS: Will fighters be able to lie down in a defensive position to lure an opponent into the guard?
SK: There will be instances like this. Some fighters will also be able to drop to guard from the clinch.
GS: Will any famous real-world stadiums be re-created as venues for the Pride game? Specifically, the Tokyo Dome, Yokohama Arena, and Nippon Budokan?
SK: There will only be one stadium in Pride.
GS: What other Pride fighters can we look forward to seeing?
SK: The models that we have revealed to the public so far, specifically at our Las Vegas press event, are Heath Herring, Vanderlei Silva, Kazushi Sakuraba, Igor Vovchanchyn, Gary Goodridge, Dan Henderson, Carlos Newton, Allan Goes, Ricardo Arona, Semmy Schilt, Gilbert Yvel, Akira Shoji, and Daijiro Matsui. There will be around 25 fighters, possibly more.
Look for more on Pride as we get it. Thanks to Sanders for his time.