EA Sports MMA
EA Sports MMA First Impressions - Fighting Against The Current
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To say that EA Sports’ MMA title has had an interesting build up thus far is quite frankly an understatement. That’s partly down, actually, wholly down, to the war of words that UFC owner Dana White is determined to start... a war he says that wasn’t started by him. A rejected White not only claims that EA only care about the money, not the sport, which may very well be the case, but he’s already threatened any UFC fighter signing with the title that they would get a lifetime UFC ban. Not exactly a good start for EA, or is it? You know what they say, any publicity is good publicity, especially when for once it’s not EA who are stamping their feet and pushing their weight around. Enough about that though, there is a game here to talk about.

Despite the crap that’s being thrown at them in the public domain, the EA Tiburon team remain upbeat and enthusiastic about their challenge. Tucked away in a small backroom at EA’s Winter Showcase at the beginning of the month was a build of the game featuring two of the Strikeforce fighters; Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. Unfortunately for the bloodthirsty press, the blood was turned off for the demo, the damaged was toned down, as was the sweat. This was out of respect for the two fighters whose fight was scheduled for that weekend. According to both Development Director, Nick Laing and Designer, Rocky Rivero, these will truly be embraced and shown off in the coming months.

For those that didn’t know, EA Sports MMA is built using the Fight Night engine – the same one that created the fantastic visuals in Fight Night Round 4 this year, and this quality transfers across to the MMA title. With the character models boasting as much detail as those in Fight Night, Fedor with his scar to boot and tattoos that actually bulge out of the skin, it’s clear already that from a visual perspective, the game really is a treat to look at.

A strong focus for EA Tiburon with their MMA title is individuality, “Every fighter has to be unique and fight like themselves,” stated Rivero. When the game ships next year, expect Brett Rogers to fight on the flats of his feet, rely on his power, cross his hands out in front, have a little shimmy, and simply refuse to get on the ground. Fedor on the other hand is a polar opposite; fighting on the balls of his feet, elbows in, hands up, throwing looping punches and looking for that chance to get you on the mat. They’ve even go so far as to get them in for motion capture sessions and get feedback on the game and what needs doing from a realism standpoint.
As far as the mechanics go, they seem to have all the bases covered, with the three main pillars leading the way; the standing game, ground game and clinch. There also seems to be another depth as well to those, with them including plenty of hit reactions, inside pummelling, fighting for position, parrying, advanced parrying, advanced takedowns, blocking, and of course, transitions. You won’t be confined to the analogue sticks either – like Fight Night – as EA Tiburon confirmed both analogue and button control support.

How will it differ to the UFC game you ask? Well I was quick to ask as well. “It’s about the global element of the sport,” said Rivero, “The competition are restricted to a league, we have the whole world at our disposal.” That extends to ring types more than anything with MMA including cages and rings as well, but it sounds as if they are looking to build a name for MMA, and not just the UFC. The problem there is that the globally more popular part of MMA is the UFC franchise, and if Dana White’s threats are anything to go by, don’t expect too many of their fighters to make an appearance. EA Tiburon sees this working to their advantage, but we’re not convinced, “UFC has a lot of great fighters, but it doesn’t have all the great fighters,” said Rivero. Although, throw in the well received Photo Game Face that all EA Sports games have been shipping with recently, and that becomes a little less important as you can choose who you want in the ring, rather than be confined by rosters.

There is an advantage with coming second, and that’s capitalising on where other games went wrong. “We looked at the UFC game and saw what they did well and what they didn’t do so well. Our emphasis is on, we know that people notice that stuff... the blood didn’t stay there, stick around,” noted Rivero before the quick witted Laing interjected to add, “It’s in the game.” UFC also failed to capitalise on pre-fight build ups, something that MMA doesn’t intend to miss out on, “Fight Night is a good reference for what we want to do there,” said Rivero, “They’ve set a benchmark for us, we want to meet it or exceed it.” This wasn’t a UFC bashing session, on the contrary, the team were huge fans of the THQ title, “They did a good job. That’s an honest appraisal,” Rivero was quick to add, “I think they did an excellent job out of the gate”... they just hope to go one better, that’s all.

Whilst the game may be shaping up to be an impressive bit of eye candy, it’s hard to see what they’re doing with the genre that THQ & UFC didn’t do earlier on this year. Being hands off, that was always going to be the case though. It’s all well and good trying to embrace MMA as a sport and not being confined to a franchise, like the UFC, but the simple fact remains, most of the game selling names are going to be fighting in the UFC game year in, year out. Maybe the licenseless EA will finally realise how Konami and PES feels every year. It’ll have to do what Konami did for years previously... and that’s blow us away with their gameplay.

EA Sports MMA is set for a 2010 release.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #1 by handoTHFC
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @ 08:18:03 PM
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looks good hopefully there will be a better online matchmaking system than ufc undisputed

Forum Posts: 76
Comment #3 by Crazy Best
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @ 09:01:09 PM
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Will buy it no doubt.

Forum Posts: 1201
Comment #4 by KRIS DETH
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @ 09:09:57 PM
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I think I'll wait for a demo to come (: does look quite good though :D

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #5 by cacique730
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @ 09:36:21 PM
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I wish Ufc would've worked together with Ea sports to make the Ufc game. Ufc was dope but u know if Ea would've made it look better.

Forum Posts: 3498
Comment #6 by Kaiyo
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @ 09:53:23 PM
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EA are a bunch @holes. EA didn't even think MMA was a sport until they saw much money THQ made with UFC Undisputed 2009.

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #7 by KingsGambit08
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @ 10:07:38 PM
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"Maybe the licenseless EA will finally realise how Konami and PES feels every year."

Didn't they already get Strikeforce and M1? And as a result, probably the WAMMA belts too?

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #8 by FuriousAli007
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 12:48:57 AM
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Couture vs Fedor

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #9 by Astrex
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 03:10:05 AM
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I liked the gameplay of UFC but it was way to hard to grapple and submit people, hopefully this is slightly easier

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #10 by AlexDIPSET
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 06:52:01 AM
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i hope this is a fun and easy game, but not too easy ;)

Forum Posts: 1005
Comment #11 by Magicman10893
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 07:09:55 AM
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Doubt it considering Dana White is planning on banning any fighter from the UFC if they sign onto this game. I wish I could see those 2 duke it out though.

Forum Posts: 75
Comment #12 by matt schwindt
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 07:15:22 AM
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yea i dunno what ufc fighters are help them sell games year in and out. they all fight almost the same and they have maybe 10 distinct marketable fighters. but the possibilities for the ea game are endless. strikeforce and m1 and dream could be there. that's more awsome fighters then i can count on all my digits. plus they are truely world wide. these guys are big in all of europe not just the u.k. and they are huge in korea,japan, and russia. i think i watch too much. lol

Forum Posts: 1185
Comment #13 by MartyMcFly
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 07:17:27 AM
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@11 Actually, Couture is already in the game. Couture has been under contract with EA long before the UFC game came out. He signed while he was under retirement when not fighting in the UFC.

So yea, you certainly can do Exhibition matches with Couture v. Fedor.

Forum Posts: 14797
Comment #14 by Webb [STAFF]
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 07:18:02 AM
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@#7 - I was talking about the UFC license, which is the globally recognised brand. PES had licenses, but not the main ones.

@#11 - I do believe Couture is there, but only because he signed on before Dana's threat. Don't quote me on that though... unless it's true of course =P

Forum Posts: 219
Comment #15 by Steeze_OG
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 09:34:51 AM
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The UFC game was fairly good. Too easy to head kick someone into a KO and not easy enough to grapple and submit. I hope THQ makes a 2010 UFC game to compete with this EA MMA game. When game makers compete....the gamers win.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #16 by Its Anarchy
Monday, November 23, 2009 @ 06:26:38 PM
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YES! ea is just jumping on the mma bandwagon. i will never buy this game because of what EA came out and said against Dana White when he was tryin to get a new game made. Now with how amazing UFC Undisputed is EA is gonna hop on and try to be mr. nice guy and make dana white look like a dick.

boycott this BS

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #17 by emeraldgsl
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 @ 01:20:56 AM
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@16 stop sucking dana white's dick....This game is gonna be great. Hopefully this creates a rivalry that lasts for a long time and gamers can get get 2 quality games because of the competition.

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #18 by H4RDCOR3 BOB
Saturday, November 28, 2009 @ 05:27:45 AM
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agreed #17

can't wait for this :D

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Game Info
EA Tiburon
Electronic Arts


US October 19, 2010
Europe October 22, 2010

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