With its immense popularity, EA Sports is firmly entrenched in mixed martial arts with its UFC franchise.
Since taking over the license for the top MMA organization in the world five years ago, EA Sports has put out three UFC games that have all been better than their predecessors. That said, there is still room for improvement.
And the developers behind the UFC series don’t have to look very far to find some things to add to the game. After all, the studio tasked with developing UFC is the same studio that used to develop another combat sport series: Fight Night.
The series last saw a release back in 2011 with the highly-regarded Fight Night Champion. With a great story mode and extensive offline features, Champion was a game that was so popular it recently became backwards compatible on the Xbox One. Since it’s release, EA Sports has put out four fighting games — three UFC titles and EA Sports MMA — all of which were good in their own rights, but still felt like they were missing something.
With development of the fourth UFC title from EA Sports already underway, it’s time to bring elements from the past into the future. Here are three things that EA Sports UFC could learn from Fight Night.
It’s a feature fans have been clamoring for since EA took over the UFC license: the ability to edit real fights.
In Fight Night Champion, players were allowed to change everything from a boxer’s stance to his skills. In EA Sports UFC, that ability has yet to be implemented. Obviously we don’t see this as a feature that should carry over to online play, but for those who want to create their own events or just enjoy offline fights, why not let them customize any fighter the way they see fit?
Do you want Stipe Miocic to be a submission specialist? What about turning Daniel Cormier into the most agile and powerful fighter in the cage? It’s about time to really turn your MMA fantasies into a reality.
This kind of piggybacks on the customization theme from before. In EA Sports UFC, you can create a number of custom fighters, but there’s no way to share your amazing creations with the world. Sure, you can go online and look up builds to copy, but that’s just too much work.
Fight Night Champion had a sharing feature that allowed players to upload and download their custom boxers for anyone else to download and use. EA Sports would be wise to add this feature to the game so those players than spend hours creating past fighters and even the most extraordinary custom fighters can have their work enjoyed by thousands of other players.
The biggest mode in Fight Night Champion was by far its Champion Mode. Now, there was Legacy Mode which allowed you to play as a boxer throughout a standard career, but Champion Mode was something completely different. It was a complete story.
The story of Andre Bishop, a former prisoner who straightened out his life and began his rise as a professional boxer, was both compelling and addicting. Once you started playing out his story, you didn’t want to stop until it was over. Sure, it had a somewhat cheesy “Rocky-esque” feel to it when it came to the last fight of the mode, but it didn’t make you want to stop playing. You wanted to lead Bishop to the World Heavyweight Championship.
EA Sports UFC shouldn’t get rid of its career mode, but there needs to be more. After seeing the success of FIFA’s “The Journey” and Madden’s “Longshot” story modes, it seems fitting that the UFC series finally gets a rags-to-riches story of its own.
So, sports gamers, what do you think EA Sports UFC could learn from the Fight Night series? Let us know in the comment section below!
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