"Ridiculously Good-Looking" EA Sports UFC 2 Revealed With Ronda Rousey [UPDATE]
The previously unbeaten champion is knocked out by Holly Holm on Saturday night.
[UPDATE] Is the Madden Curse now extending to the EA Sports UFC franchise?
On Friday, EA announced Ronda Rousey as the cover star for EA Sports UFC 2. On Saturday night, the previously unbeaten fighter was knocked out by Holly Holm. There is no question that Rousey remains one of the world's premier UFC fighters, so we wouldn't expect this loss to affect her role in the upcoming game.
The original story is below.
Following EA's initial tease earlier this week, the company has now officially announced EA Sports UFC 2. The game will launch in spring 2016 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, featuring undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey--lover of Pokemon, World of Warcraft, and Game of Thrones--on its cover.
"As a gamer myself, it's pretty surreal to be on the cover of the game and to have a woman on the cover of a UFC game shows a lot of progress," Rousey said. "I'm really happy to be involved with it."
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EA Sports UFC 2 adds some new modes not seen in the first game (released in 2014), including KO Mode and Ultimate Team. The game also boasts a revamped Career mode (which lets you create female fighters; the first game did not), as well as a new feature called Grapple Assist that helps players master their skills.
The first EA Sports UFC game was already gorgeous, but the sequel aims to take things like character likenesses and animations "to another level," EA said.
"The game being really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking is important to us" -- Senior producer Brian Hayes
"The game being really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking is important to us, and the team is always working to find ways to outdo themselves," EA Sports UFC senior producer Brian Hayes told GameSpot. "That includes updates to the in-game lighting, the facial animation system and lots of new physics and rendering details. It all comes together in the in-fight replays, where you can really see the fighter flinch a moment before a huge strike lands, sending ripples across their face, and how their hair whips around with the force of the blow.
In addition, UFC 2 boasts a new knockout physics system to deliver more realistic animations. You can visit the EA Sports UFC 2 website to get all the details about the game's new features.
In terms of EA Sports UFC 2's fighter roster, EA didn't share any names beyond Rousey at this point (who will be joined by another fighter on the game's cover), but says the game has the "biggest ever roster."
To go deeper into EA Sports UFC 2, GameSpot spoke with Hayes about improvements over the first game which GameSpot scored a 5/10), how microtransactions work in the new Ultimate Team mode, the inspiration for KO Mode, and more. Check out our complete interview below.
What was some of the feedback you received from the first EA Sports UFC and how are you applying those learnings to EA Sports UFC 2?
First and foremost, there was a lot feedback about how challenging the game was on the ground, or in the clinch. That wasn't exactly a complete surprise, because those facets of the sport are generally the most complex. But in hindsight, it was more challenging than we would have liked. So for UFC 2 we put a big focus on improving the grappling controls, providing a better on-boarding experience, and giving players plenty of ways to learn how to master the game. The other thing we heard from fans is that they wanted more experiences and deeper modes. So we went big on that, added five new modes and took a close look at our existing ones to make them more rewarding.
The first EA Sports UFC game was really gorgeous and had a lot of realistic physics features; how are you taking things forward with the sequel in terms of graphics and realism?
The game being really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking is important to us, and the team is always working to find ways to outdo themselves. That includes updates to the in-game lighting, the facial animation system and lots of new physics and rendering details. It all comes together in the in-fight replays, where you can really see the fighter flinch a moment before a huge strike lands, sending ripples across their face, and how their hair whips around with the force of the blow.
Did you have actual UFC fighters come in for motion-capture sessions to capture their faces and moves?
When possible, we love to do that, but it's often a challenge to sort out logistically. Also, doing mocap isn't exactly a bowl of cherries, so most often we work with local fighters and stunt performers for the more grueling week-long sessions. But these are people that have a great deal of physical ability, a real talent for mimicry, MMA skills, and a ton of patience.
The lack of support for female characters in create-a-character for the first game was something that a lot of people took issue with. What was behind the decision to deliver this feature in the sequel?
We're excited about the addition of women to create-a-fighter and Career Mode and we would have loved to do it for the first game. It was just that the timing of the UFC's addition of the women's bantamweight division came at a point in development when we were already well underway. Adding the women's division alone was very challenging, and create-a-fighter tools are far more complex. We just couldn't build the assets for a female create-a-fighter in time for the original game.
The Ultimate Team modes for other EA Sports games are ridiculously popular; how is this going to work in EA Sports UFC 2?
Hopefully, UFC Ultimate Team will be ridiculously popular too. It will obviously work a little differently than the other team-based sports when you get down to the details. But the basics are this: you can create up to 5 fighters in different weight classes, when you fight you earn coins, and with coins you can purchase packs of items to improve your fighters. One of our big strengths is individual athlete customization, there's a lot more of it in our game than you might find in other Ultimate Team experiences.
Some people also have concerns about microtransactions in Ultimate Team modes; how are you handling microtransactions for EA Sports UFC 2?
It's pretty straightforward. Everything in UFC Ultimate Team is attainable with coins you earn in-game. Or you can purchase alternate currency and use that to attain the same things. But there are also limits to what you can equip your fighter with based on performance, so you can't just buy all the best items and max out your fighter without earning your stripes.
KO Mode sounds pretty awesome; what was the inspiration for this?
Part of it was fan feedback. We heard from lots of people that they would play that way with their more casual friends; no ground game allowed, just KOs. And part of it was from testing the new KO physics system and capturing videos for internal review. We had a debug setting that turned on one-hit knockouts and ended up having these very quick, but very intense fights that always finished with a spectacular KO.