Exclusive: EA Sports’ UFC developer interview

It’s been almost a week and my left thumb is still tingling having been rubbed red-raw during a preview bout with EA Sports’ upcoming mixed martial arts game, UFC.

EA Games invited a collection of Australian tech journalists to Sydney’s UFC gym for a session with a fight trainer and a go on the UFC game. Whilst there I also had the opportunity to ask UFC’s assistant producer, Jazz Brousseau, a few questions about the game.

Can you tell me a little about yourself and the role you played in bringing us UFC?

I’ve been with EA Sports for about seven years. I’ve previously worked on Fight Night Round 4 and Fight Night Champion- so did a lot of the production team and the engineers that are now working on UFC. My role on UFC was primarily for the online portion of the design.

I’ve played UFC and it’s quite a complex game. Obviously, for UFC fans, picking the game up is going to be a no-brainer. But how does the game accommodate novices?

We feel that it is accessible. It’s easy to get into the game and punch and kick people, and it’s fun. I think that’s really what it is going to come down to. Is the game fun or not? If the game is fun people will learn to get better at it; they’ll grow, and they’ll evolve. They’ll work on filling in the gaps where they may be weak.

One of the things that we’ve really tried to focus on with this game is the challenges area, which allows players to train various specific portions of the game. So if you are not good at the take-downs and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, well, that’s an area that you can go in and train in a vacuum- away from online players or the CPU.

Bruce Lee

You worked on some of the Fight Night games. How does UFC compare? UFC does seem to be a comparatively deep game with a lot more gameplay strategy.

UFC is very much like MMA in that it is layered and nuanced. There’s a lot of different things that you can do depending on the position that you are in, depending on the style of fighter that you are. It’s tough to sort of understand all that when we toss you into “fight now” in the preview. It’s going to be a different experience as players go through career mode and are ramped up on the learning curve.

Obviously Fight Night is a stand-up game in that it’s only boxing. Even in the stand-up there’s a lot more that you can do in UFC; for instance, different types of clinches. There isn’t a lot of direct correlation between Fight Night and UFC other than the team that worked behind it and the experience that we brought to UFC from that game.

Jon Jones

How many fighters do you have in the game?

Right now we are just shy of a hundred.

Wow, that’s a lot of fighters. How do you calculate the damage with all those different fighters and fighting styles?

The legs, the torso and the head are pretty much the primary areas where you can be hurt. There’s no simple math that you can apply that, you know, you can take seven shots to the head you are going to be hurt in the head. It’s really dependant on the fighter- not only the fighter being punched, but the fighter doing the strike.

It really depends on how much stamina you have, how flush the punch or strike was. It’s very much like Fight Night in that it’s a dynamic system it depends on a lot of different factors to determine if you are going to be hurt.

Bruce Lee

What do you think that the fans are going to enjoy the most about the game?

I think that the Ultimate Fighters are going to be the highlight for a lot of hardcore UFC fans. We are the first UFC game to capture a lot of the tough gym assets and make that come to life.

Other than that I think just the realism, the authenticity and the fighter likenesses are unparalleled. I think that is also going to be the big point that people are going to enjoy.

Can you tell me anything about the game that you’ve not told anyone else?

Well, something that we have talked about, but is not well known outside the team is that UFC was built from the ground up in under two years which I think is pretty incredible.

I think that’s a good titbit of info to close with right there. Thanks ever so much Jazz.

UFC will be released on June 20th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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