Earlier tonight, THQ officially unveiled UFC 2010 Undisputed here at Mandalay Bay, just one day before UFC 109. Most of the details that were released were covered yesterday in our exclusive Q&A with THQ's Omar Kendall. However, there were still some interesting odds and ends on display during the presentation by THQ producer Nevin Dravinski. Here's a rundown of the things I noticed during tonight's unveiling:
-- The gameplay demo featured fighters Mike Swick and Paulo Thiago and covered a lot of ground specifically designed to show off a bunch of the game's new features, including fighting against the cage, a revamped submission system, and a tweaked control scheme. In terms of the cage, the main point discussed revolved around how the cage will affect striking power. In the demo, Thiago was shoved against the cage by Swick and tried some leg kicks while pinned against the cage; the angle of his body against the cage, however, didn't allow him to get full extension, and as a result, his kicks were much weaker than normal. On the other hand, using the additional leverage available to him, Swick was able to land much harder punches on Thiago. You'll also be able to do takedowns off the cage--during the demo, Dravinski performed a single-leg takedown on Thiago, ending up on the ground on top of Thiago in half guard.
-- For UFC 2010, the developers have essentially doubled the number of available submissions in the game--including more esoteric finishers like BJ Penn's arm trap to rear naked choke. When attempting a submission, the camera has been revamped--if you're winning a submission, the camera will pull in to give a closer view of the action. If you begin to lose it, the camera will pull back, adding a new level of immediacy to this crucial moment of the fight. Another addition is the introduction of submission transitions, which will let you move from one submission hold to the next by holding the left bumper and then pressing the right trigger (on the Xbox 360 controller). Depending on your position, you might move to a more advantageous position, or you might end up in a worse position than before.
-- There are multiple control tweaks to go along with all the other changes. For instance, the quarter- and half-circle transitions that were such a big part of the ground game are now used in the clinch. In fact, the clinch has been completely reanimated, which should make it a bit more exciting than in the first game. There's a new sway system in play as well that can help you avoid punches and kicks. Sway can also be effective offensively; if timed correctly, you can add additional power to a blow by leaning into it.
-- Posture will play a big role in fights. Each position on the ground will have several sub-positions. It wasn't entirely clear how this will work in the game, but from the sound of it, these sub-positions will determine your proximity to your opponent on the ground, making it easier to deliver hard shots from certain positions. The result, it seems, will be more opportunities to knock out an opponent from various positions. In fact, as Dravinski put it, in UFC 2009, you could knock out an opponent from only a couple of positions, but in 2010, you'll be able to do it from any position.
-- Another small change to the ground game involves the mount position. In UFC 2009, when in full mount, you could throw only one or two punches before having to try to block a transition attempt from an opponent. This time around, the game has more of a sense of an "inherent" transition block, one you won't have to manually control. As Dravinski told me, the idea here is to let people punch each other in the face more. Sounds good to me.
-- Lots of little UFC details abounded. During the post-fight decision announcement, the fighters were wearing T-shirts and caps, and you'll be able to unlock all of this gear and more as you go through the game. Bruce Buffer's patented "Buffer 180"--where the veteran ring announcer dramatically points to each fighter--is in the game. There are even new refs on the roster, including UFC vet Yves Lavigne.
-- Arianny Celeste is still in the game. This makes me smile.
-- While THQ wasn't talking career mode tonight, one detail caught my eye as it flashed by on the main menu screen as a hint of what to expect from career mode. It seems that disrespecting a fighter before a fight "will gain you more popularity and will also negatively affect relationships." Just what this means and how this will work in the game is unclear, but it seems that career mode will be significantly more robust than in 2009.
UFC 2010 Undisputed is due for release on May 25 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and later in the year on PSP.