GamesRadar was on hand at the Palms in Las Vegas last weekend as THQ unveiled UFC 2009 Undisputed for 360 and PS3. Media from around the world rubbed elbows with UFC luminaries and Japanese developers as Keith Kirby, THQ’s VP of Product Development, laid out the game’s features. With a focus on realistic fight strategies, UFC 2009 Undisputed will offer 80 fighters in all 5 classes. Famed WWE developer Yuke’s is building the game from scratch in their Osaka studio. They’ve also recruited developers who worked on the Fight Night franchise (presumably when EA turned out the lights in Chicago.) With a team experienced in making top-shelf boxing and wrestling games, we expect nothing less than a well-rounded fighting game that authentically portrays the mixed-martial-arts style made popular by the UFC.
For the demo, two developers from Yuke’s played a round as Quentin “Rampage” Jackson versus Forrest Griffin, while the real fighters stood over their shoulders shouting advice and taunts. At one point Rampage snatched the controller away from the alarmed developer and proceeded to win the fight in short order, illustrating how well the game’s fight system recreates real-world MMA tactics.
To help immerse the player in the UFC experience, the peripheral cast is fleshed out with the UFC’s real life announcers, cut men, trainers and of course the Octagon Girls (see our exclusive photos here). Artists and animators have access to hundreds of hours of reference footage from the shows, training sessions and detailed full-body scans to create realistic models. Perhaps the biggest triumph of all is that the collision system seems to have eliminated clipping issues, so combat looks dynamic and realistic rather than a set of prescripted animations. The player will have constant control during gameplay, with a heavy emphasis on clinching, blocking, countering and ground fighting.
While MMA is markedly different from straight boxing, Fight Night’s fingerprints are all over UFC 2009 Undisputed. Remember the intense slow-motion facial deformation from Fight Night Round 3, after a fighter was hit with a crippling haymaker? You’ll see a similar effect here. The developers have also ditched the health bar and HUD; players will rely on cuts and bruises to indicate their fighter’s status. These touches should help distinguish UFC 2009 Undisputed from SmackDown vs RAW, TNA Impact! and other wrestling titles.
Next page: Forrest Griffin dishes on his sex life, and ringside photos from the Ultimate Fighter 7 finals