You may be wondering what is different about this year's UFC game from THQ? You may be wondering if there is anything more the developers can do to improve the series. Well I had the chance to sit down with Neven Dravinksi the Producer of UFC Undisputed 3 to see what he can tell us about the new game. As a huge fan of the original UFC Undisputed what are some of the new features in UFC Undisputed 3?
There are so many new features this year, I’m not even sure where to begin. First and foremost, we’re introducing PRIDE Mode, enabling players to fight in the renowned Japanese MMA organization with its own unique environment and rules. Our roster has expanded to more than 150 fighters, including the franchise debut of featherweight and bantamweight divisions. We’re bringing more people into the game through a new amateur control scheme, and we’ve revised our submission system to be graphics-based, helping players understand exactly what is happening during a submission attempt. We’ve also stepped up our visual presentation, including the addition of fighter entrances, new camera angles and a high contrast appearance. Combine these elements with significant changes to elements like Career Mode and our online offerings, and UFC Undisputed 3 offers players of all backgrounds a very robust and rewarding experience this year.
It seems that with each release of the game UFC continues to grow in popularity, does this add an extra layer of pressure when developing the game?
I think what's great is that we have such passionate fans who love UFC and MMA. The pressure really comes from making sure that we're being true to the sport and the brand. I think the team has always shown we're just as rabid as the fans out there, and features such as PRIDE Mode show we're always looking for ways to push the limits of what we can do to bring the best MMA videogame experience to consumers.
Stand up fighting has always been fantastic in the series, how has the ground game changed in UFC Undisputed 3 from past iterations?
We started focus testing from the beginning of development with guys who were at the top of the leader boards on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. In addition, we brought in hardcore fighting gamers, as well as casual sports gamers, and did multiple focus tests each month to really help design the systems. We found that people played this game in different ways and for completely different reasons. This really helped us tune our design and our gameplay features to make UFC Undisputed 3 a game that can be played at any level and exactly how you want to play it. For example, the Simulation Energy setting, Competition Rules, Amateur Controls and the new Submission system were a direct result of engaging our community early on and involving them in the development process, making for some really cool additions to the game. All of these items will have an impact on how players tackle the ground game in UFC Undisputed 3.
I have probably played the demo of UFC Undisputed 3 30-40 times, do you worry that gamers might get there fix of the game via the demo and not feel the need to go to the full version?
Well, that's a great compliment. I think the demo is one of the strongest in the industry and has been since we released the first one for UFC 2009 Undisputed. However, there are elements like not being able to play UFC guys in PRIDE rules (and vice versa), only one round of action and only four of our 150+ fighters available. I think with the new additions to Career Mode, our Highlight Reels and the ability to play online, there will be more than enough new items to satisfy people in the full game.
Yearly iterations of a game can start to lead to a bit of gamer fatigue. Is this something the dev team is aware of when developing each years game?
Our team is made up of people who have extensive experience making annual titles. The trick is to make sure we're always improving on our previous base with enough new items while still working to get new people playing the game. We have different challenges than other annual sports titles; for example, there is no season with UFC. However, I think with our extra time for development on UFC Undisputed 3, we've really added a lot of new features, like PRIDE Mode and the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, that might have not made it in a yearly title together but ultimately make for a better game given the extra time for development.
There has been an increase in competition within the video game MMA realm, how do you feel your game stacks up against the competition? Is there a sense of pressure knowing that other franchises are trying to do the same thing as you?
As of this date, the UFC Undisputed franchise is the best selling and has the highest-rated MMA games in the industry. I think our team is always looking forward to see how we can make the next Undisputed game even better than before. I'm glad there are other games out there; it just shows how popular MMA has become.
As someone who knows nothing about the Pride league can you tell us what the difference in rules are and the impact that has on the game?
PRIDE rules involved no elbows to the head but brutal attacks otherwise. Players can kick or knee an opponent in the head when he is down on the mat (something one can't do in UFC rules), and the first round is 10 minutes long as opposed to five. This makes for some amazing knockouts and technical knockouts. The player has to be a lot more careful about the positions he allows himself to get into or it's lights out pretty quickly.
What's your favorite new addition to UFC Undisputed 3?
Without question, PRIDE Mode. It's a game within a game, including new announcers with Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros. There’s new gameplay and new rules, as well as a complete PRIDE roster with younger versions of UFC stars and classic PRIDE fighters who don't fight in UFC. All in all, it's a very cool feature that could have been sold as a completely separate game.
Are there any plans for DLC going forward for the game?
We recently announced a huge downloadable content program for UFC Undisputed 3. There are many options to choose from, including new fighters, ultimate fights, access to unlockables, created fighter progression and much more. In addition, fans can also check out our Season Pass program, which combines several of our offers into one for a discounted price.
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