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EA Developers Explain EA Sports UFC's New Grappling System, More
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 03.27.2014



MMAjunkie recently participated in a Q&A session with the EA Sports UFC developers, Creative Director Brian Hayes and Lead Producer Nate McDonald, on the upcoming game. Below are some highlights.

The game is due out on the Xbox One and PS4 later this year.

Will the game be released on current gen platforms: "The day that we signed the deal there may have been discussions of where we're going to make the game. Very shortly after that it was decided it would be a next-gen only. The investment to make a current-gen game as well wasn't really worth it. FIFA, Madden and NHL, it's easy for all of them to update those products. We would have been doing all that stuff for current-gen and then probably have never made another version of that ever again. It would have split our focus and we wanted to make sure we focused on this and having the team not having to split."

Their comments on the roster and how many fighters will be playable: "We are still locking that down because there's always a chance something can change and a guy can get booted off the roster, but it's going to be in the neighborhood of 100. There's no final number yet until we get to the point where we tell the UFC we can't take any more guys."

On distributing fighter stats: "For fighter's statistics, one of the first things we did was actually send the roster to [UFC matchmakers] Joe Silva and Sean Shelby. We gave them the roster and all the categories for each rating and they gave it a first pass. Then after that we took it and tweaked it. After the first pass everyone came back pretty much rated like 89 or higher [out of 100]. So we sent it back and told them we need a little more separation between the guys. Then after that we spread it out a little bit. It was nice to have it off our plate, because if a fighter gets mad we can just point them in their direction."

On DLC fighters: "We're definitely looking at adding fighters to the roster if and when it's possible. It's part of our plan at the moment and there's no reason why that should change."

Will it have the fighter share option?: "That's something we loved as well, but we can't do it anymore for a number of reasons. One of the big things people did on a game like "Fight Night" is making Rocky Balboa, or Floyd Mayweather or whatever. But nowadays when people can make YouTube clips and share them, there's this whole grey area where if our game allows users to make a Rocky character that's the intellectual property of somebody else, it causes a ton of problems. There is a "Create-A-Fighter" and you could create you own Rocky, but when we are facilitating the sharing of content, it gets very difficult."

Will the game have cut stoppages?: "Cuts can get visually very bad, but we don't have any cut stoppages. In the future, especially for cut stoppages, until we can make it so the players has the ability to stop cuts, we don't want people to lose because of them. Maybe in the future we'll have a mini-game like they used to do for "Fight Night."

On the venues in the game: "Including the gym environment, we have about 12 or 13. For some places it's easy to get the licensing because we have relationships with arenas from the past for other sports titles. But ones that we don't have pre-existing relationships with it has proven to be a bit of a challenge. I won't get into specifics, but there have been a couple where it was months of back and forth and because of some legal mumbo-jumbo we weren't able to get it done. We were able to swap in for another venue. We went through the list of venues with the UFC and we went after those as our priority. Staples Center is in there, the Honda Center, Bell Centre in Montreal, Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the Rio Arena in Brazil and the MGM Grand in Vegas. We've got a good range."

On creating the game's submission system: "The submission battle system is all-new. Obviously this is a big one people are curious about and it's a huge part of MMA. Everybody would love if you could make the submission system like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and you could play without putting some abstract thing on the HUD or the screen. From experience, probably about 10 of our game animation guys have been training BJJ for the past two years, some longer. We've learned that you can do BJJ with your eyes closed. I don't need my eyes open and I can tell where you're trying to move your hips, your weight, balance, leverage – all that stuff. So you have a sport you can do with you eye closed and we have a video game where we can only give you information through your eyes. It's a big challenge."

"I would love to make some hardware that you could put on your head and you feel everything, but until we get to something like that, we will be somewhat limited about how we can implement BJJ into the game. That being said, we did want to bring more to the BJJ game in this new UFC. We didn't want to make it, "Hey, we're on the ground, I'm going to hit a button for a submission and we will have a battle." Our submission game is based on the principal that if you get me in a submission hold, I'm trying to get out anyway I can while you're trying to advance. In BJJ there's a lot of steps to make sure you put on a submission hold correctly. If you're putting on an armbar there is all these little techniques that are important to make sure you're not giving the guy an opportunity to find a way out the back door. On defense we said you're not going to cooperate with a submission hold. You're always going to try to figure out where's the door, where's the window, where's the hatch to the basement – whatever it is. How do I get out of this trap I'm in? Then offensively, my responsibility is to make sure I don't let you get out, then when it's the right time, take my submission hold a little further."

"There's four ways to go when you're in a submission. There's four ways a defender can go. He just has to push the right stick in any direction and if it goes all the way outside, he gets the submission. That's the only thing you have to do on defense. Push the right stick in the direction you want out, you escape the submission. The offensive guy, if he sees you going to the left, he just has to push the right stick to the left and he stops you from moving somewhere. It's on the offensive guy to stop the guy from wiggling out. You have to keep an eye on where the defensive guy wants to go, but you also have to wait for your opportunity to advance."

"Every submission is animated in five stages depending on what your attributes are. You may have to go through all five; you may have to go through only three depending on different scenarios. There are 29 different submissions in the game. Not every armbar looks the same depending on the position. We really wanted to make it something that you can see what's going on and see who is winning as opposed to, "We're going to do this and see what happens at the end depending on stats."





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