The gaming industry, like the boxing ring, is a fickle beast, and if you're not on the top, you're nobody. EA Chicago learned that lesson in November when its handler, Electronic Arts proper, abruptly shut the studio down due to poor performance in the retail ring. Though the publisher said that the Fight Night series would continue to train at one of its other internal studios, it would do so without EA Chicago's effervescent general manager Kudo Tsunoda, who landed at Microsoft Games Studio in January.
Today, EA officially confirmed that Fight Night Round 4 is in development at EA Canada and will arrive for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2009. With Take-Two's contender Prizefighter featuring the loquacious stylings of renowned fight promoter Don King, EA will in kind be tapping the pugilist celebrity pool. The company said that feral boxing powerhouse Mike Tyson will join The Champ, Muhammad Ali, as playable fighters in the game.
As with other EA Sports franchises, Fight Night Round 4 will receive a fresh bout of features and updates. EA Canada will be targeting realism with a new physics-based animation system, which is designed to give fighters more control over their blocks and maneuvering. This mechanic will also allow for a greater variety of punches, with missed, glancing, and knockout blows all now included.
With Fight Night Round 4's main event scheduled for next year, EA Sports will be debuting its newest boxer, the arcade-style FaceBreaker, this September. FaceBreaker will be released on the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii under the newly branded EA Sports Freestyle label.