Gamescom 2013: EA Sports UFC First Impressions Preview - A New Beginning
Written Friday, September 06, 2013 By Dan WebbView author's profile
EA often uses its fighting games to show off the advancements in its new internal game engines, especially when it comes to new consoles, and why not, the close-up focus on the characters rather than the wide-angle shots you'd be used to in FIFA and Madden is the perfect opportunity to do such a thing. Enter a new generation of consoles, EA Sports' new sports game engine, Ignite, and a new franchise for the label in UFC, and what you have is the perfect platform for the future of video games.
Being built on the brand new EA Sports Ignite engine, like any other game built on the engine EA Sports UFC has three main goals: human emotion, human intelligence, and living worlds. The 'living worlds' bit speaks for itself, and like FIFA, EA Sports UFC is aiming to breathe life into the arena and the crowd. Conveying human emotion and human intelligence though, isn't quite as simple.
The human emotion aspect of the Ignite engine falls in line with the dev team's objective for the game, and that's for players to "feel the fight." Players of the last MMA game from EA Canada will have noticed that there was no sense of intelligence or awareness from the AI fighters, no sense of exertion or even something like no body deformation, however, that's set to change with EA Sports UFC.
EA Sports Canada is not only pushing facial animations through as one of their goals, but real-time exertion is now a huge thing. That means that when you have someone in an armbar now, you'll see the skin change colour, the muscles tense, and even tendons and veins bulging out. You'll be able to see the pain, anguish and exertion in each fighter from head to toe.
EA Sports UFC also boasts full body deformation now, something that wasn't even possible with the current generation as it takes a lot of mathematical power to pull something like that off - thank you, next-gen! If you actually look at the contact from the EA Sports MMA game when it comes to hits and throws, and such, there was an awful lot of 'hover hand' and non-contact going on, but that's a thing of the past now, as the new engine allows for actual body contact.
Instead of being "cool looking action figures," as Brian Hayes, the game's Creative Director puts it, they'll actually feel and look like UFC fighters embroiling in caged warfare - all the UFC fighters are getting scanned into the game too with EA Sports' many very expensive and elaborate HD cameras.
Fighters will also move a lot more realistically, whether that's kicking off the cage for various moves or just how they move on the mat - EA Sports MMA's fighters looked more like they were hovering around the canvas, whereas UFC's will be grounded to the surface this time. Furthermore there'll be more variety in how fighters get damaged and obviously because of the move to next-gen, a much higher visual fidelity is par for the course. It's not just visual changes though. The submission game in EA Sports UFC will be more strategic as EA Sports Canada was eager to bring to life that battle to get into the final position, and the CPU will learn and adapt dynamically to you based on how you fight. For instance, if you try to get a CPU fighter to the ground, he'll - or she'll - keep you at arm's length and do everything in their power to not play to your strengths. It's change across the board!
Players shouldn't confuse this game with the EA Sports MMA title. Oh no, this is a new IP and a new engine built entirely for new consoles. It's brand spanking new, folks! That's not to say EA hasn't learn from its past titles though, and with criticisms revolving around locomotion and animation quality now being a thing of the past due to a new engine and new mo-cap sessions, EA Sports Canada has still focused on the feedback it received RE: stamina balancing and all that.
It's early doors for EA Sports UFC in terms of the actual gameplay - the demo on show at Gamescom, for instance, was just the standing game - but EA Canada certainly seem to have their finger on the pulse theoretically when it comes to creating a much more realistic MMA experience. Plus, they now have the license and backing of the UFC, so things are certainly looking positive for MMA fans the world over.
EA Sports UFC is scheduled for a spring 2014 release.