EA SPORTS Q&A: EA SPORTS UFC and the Power of a New Generation

Powered by EA SPORTS IGNITE™ technology, “EA SPORTS UFC” brings the action, emotion and intensity inside the Octagon™ to life in ways that were never before possible. Check out the Xbox Wire exclusive interview below with Brian Hayes, Creative Director of “EA SPORTS UFC” and stay tuned for more news and insights from other renowned developers of the hottest and most anticipated games coming to Xbox.

What are you most excited about for developing on new generation hardware?

More powerful technology gives us more ability to be creative, to be innovative, and to deliver higher quality in every area of the game. I’m really excited about how realistic the fighters are going to look in “EA SPORTS UFC.” However, I’m even more excited to see what happens over the course of this console generation. If you think about what the very first games were like on the Xbox 360 and compare that to what games are capable of today… it’s going to be exciting to see where games go.

How does a new generation of hardware improve and enable the development of future of “EA SPORTS UFC” titles?

In simple terms, more powerful technology allows us to create more impressive, higher quality experiences. To put it another way, throughout development the number of times a software engineer looks at a designer and thinks, “I hope you are joking right now,” is significantly reduced. This next generation of hardware is almost as new to us as they are to the consumer, and it’s capable of a lot of things that we have only begun to explore how to bring fun, exciting, new experience to the players.

How will EA SPORTS replicate a realistic sense of a fighters weight and momentum in “EA SPORTS UFC?”

We’ve developed a new locomotion system, called Precision Movement, that allows us to more realistically simulate the way a fighter moves around the octagon. The fighter’s feet are actually connected to the floor in a way we were unable to do before. It sounds like a simple thing, but it’s really not, and it has an enormous impact on the believability of the athletic performance recreated in the game. When the fighter looks like they are really connected and interacting with the environment, it makes every action they perform more realistic.     

How will the dynamic striking and precision movement features create an authentic experience for players in “EA SPORTS UFC?”

The Precision Movement system doesn’t just work on the floor of the octagon, but on the cage walls as well. There is a tremendous amount of animation variety that allows the user to express themselves in the octagon and that will include dynamic attacks off of the cage. With how quickly the sport of MMA is evolving, it’s one of our biggest priorities to make sure that the fighting styles and techniques being utilized by the UFC’s most dynamic athletes are represented in the game. It’s certainly possible that some players will try and use the cage more often than any sane fighter would in reality, but we don’t think that kind of “hyper-authenticity” is the worst thing in the world. And it should open up the door for some very authentic knockouts when savvy players catch an opponent clowning around too much.

How is new generation hardware being used to create an AI that mimics real UFC fighter tendencies?

We’re creating a MMAi for the CPU player that has game plans and the ability to adapt to what’s happening inside the octagon. There are obviously a lot of different things a well-rounded mixed martial artist can do during a fight: sprawl and brawl, ground and pound, go for submissions, fight in the clinch… and a variety of ways they can execute different strategies using different strikes, takedowns and movement around the octagon. We’re creating a system that allows the CPU fighter to utilize any of these approaches, with a preference for those the fighter has an affinity for because of their unique attributes and abilities.

What are the main differences between the presentation of fighters in “EA SPORTS UFC” on Xbox One versus similar titles on current-gen consoles?

We’ve never been able to create in-game characters with this level of visual detail on current gen consoles. If we had tried, they would have had to fight in an empty gray box with no crowd, no stadium, no referee and no octagon. There are a multitude of components to this like the game’s real-time lighting technology, the polygon count for the character models, the character texture resolution and head topologies that have been created from full 360 degree head scans (using EA SPORTS proprietary capture technology). Then you combine those assets with a new facial animation system plus hardware that allows us to use uncompressed gameplay animations and the result are the most realistic characters we’ve ever seen in sports game.