EA’s UFC franchise returns this year with UFC 4 and is shaped as a punitively powerful entry into the series. EA is making a series of major changes to the gameplay this year, improving and expanding on punches, grappling, downloading and clinching. In addition, UFC 4 offers its own Real-Player Motion technology from Madden, FIFA and NHL to provide a more authentic representation of MMA cells.
GameSpot recently caught up with creative director Brian Hayes, who delved into the numerous gameplay improvements this year. He says the changes in the clinch game will be immediately recognizable and very impactful, while players must appreciate the improvements EA has made in performance and startling, Hayes said.
Also in the interview, Hayes talks about why the UFC broke up with commentator Joe Rogan, who called for a real-life fight for the UFC. “He̵
Be sure to check out the full interview below, as Hayes also talks about the benefits of launching at the end of the console and more.
UFC 4 launches on August 14 for PS4 and Xbox One. Those who pre-order receive exclusive fighters Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua:
What are some of the biggest changes and improvements to the gameplay this year?
Probably the biggest change we’ve implemented / undertaken this year has been simply reworking and rewriting the game with a clinch, making EA Sports, real player movement or RPM technology, as we call it, and just extending that beyond just locomotion. and striking in an entirely new clinch system. So the game of clinching is much more accessible, fluid – your ability to get in and out of it using locomotion, to throw punches inside the clinch, to move to different positions, and actually to travel and download, it’s just brand new system. So the unique part is that before that in other iterations of the game, the clinch was essentially a continuation of what is a ground game.
And you basically played on the field, standing in the clinch. Now, it’s actually more like the closest possible range of face-to-face combat and defeat. So it’s just a lot more affordable and fun that way. It’s from the release of the beta over the weekend or you know, earlier this week, you just know, you quickly grab someone by the collar and throw the top keys before they come off, it just completely changes the way you click factors in every battle compared to previous iterations of the game.
“If you’re trying to throw a rotating side kick to the head, you don’t have to hold down as many buttons to pull it as you used to.” – Hayes
This is the most significant change we have made. But then there’s the addition of grapefruit assistant controls to make the existing game on the ground more accessible to more players. And we’ve updated the striking control stands with the look of dynamic striking inputs. So there is a touch / hold mechanic to make each hit not only more responsive, but also to make some of the more complex ones more accessible to throw. So if you’re trying to throw a rotating side kick at your head, you don’t have to hold down as many buttons to pull it as you used to.
What about the subtle changes?
Some of the subtle things we’ve done is actually add levels to some of the strokes. So for many more hardcore fans like this one who can see that when you are, if you are in career mode or if you are a licensed UFC fighter who does not have such a high level of striking ability. The technical skill with which the fighter strikes certain blows will be different depending on whether it is a first level or second level blow or a fourth level or level five.
As some strokes get higher and higher, they’re actually thrown with more technical skill, as I said, so it’s a nice subtle nod that we actually hope to expand as we move forward. But it’s a nice little touch to see him, yes, this guy isn’t really a great kickboxer. He looks like sloppy-looking kicks in the legs, unlike boys like Edson Barbosa. It’s like it looks kind of like kicks.
There are elements in the passing game, such as the possibility of a strike. I mean, it’s not really barely perceptible when someone hits you in the face when you’re, you know, they’re trying to put a shoulder on you, but as something, it’s something that has never existed in our series before. Just like when you add new items like this to the feed game. The big thing is that there are two new feeding games, one for choke feeding and one for co-feeding. But so are the cases, depending on what pass you are in, where you will have the opportunity, either as a defender or a striker, to throw fists or different blows to your opponent to try to confuse them during the passing games, different ways to escape the presentation of liking, a helmet avoids the opportunities that will arise during these experiences.
And then, I mean, I think there’s a lot of subtlety within the clinch game – it’s obviously a major overhaul, as a technical thing, but the positions, the transitions that happen, you know, the smoothness with which players sort on a change of positions and navigate through the octagon when you know when they are in the clinch. There are a lot of subtleties in this, it’s not just not just it’s not just a feature for a big ticket. This is really something that is the sum of many parts.
How has the introduction of Real-Player Motion technology affected UFC 4?
Well, we have expanded the use of Real-Player Motion technology and the two biggest areas will be the complete changes in clinching. But then a basic overview of how to make downloads in the game. So yes, the clinch game has undergone a complete overhaul. So there are new downloadable inputs as part of a new dynamic, astounding management. So you’re actually trying to download with input buttons now, not with analog inputs, but then there are the possibility of removal battles, so you can shoot down and if your protection is decent but not perfect, it will actually end you find yourself in a situation where you can keep driving downhill and on a locomotive to try to direct me to the cage and get to the finish line where I can use my locomotive to try and escape the neighborhood by counteracting what you are doing against me such an idea to download a battle is something we have never had before and this is achieved with the expansion of RPM technology in the download system. And then there’s a whole list of new animations to download in the game, just depending on the context – if the weather is super good and you have poor endurance, it will be just dynamics like driving a copy right to the ground.
There are strong blows, where you like a man of Daniel Cormier to stand on your shoulder and basically put their ass on a ticket, have mercy on my French and hit him on the head. Such a real technician for the player’s movement, basically the two biggest things, extending this from not just astonishing locomotive, but a major overhaul of the clinch game and then rewriting the download system as well.
In terms of feedback, how much of this year’s changes are based on what fans have told you about previous games, compared to your own game design ideas?
I think a lot of the many big ticket ideas or a lot of the big stuff will be based more on some kind of internal concepts like looking at wider data sets and then a lot like nuance changes …. there are a lot of settings and balancing, which occur in terms of how much vulnerability a fighter must have when he bends in that direction and their opponent throws a hook. These kinds of changes and settings, tuning and balancing are things that when we share the game, like an internal test environment with our community. It is there that many of these conversations take place.
In terms of balancing the details, the subtlety, the nuance of something like that, very, very much like deep meta-changes and balancing. So if we’re looking at code change, it’s probably heavily geared toward, as, you know, much of the code change is something that the team invents, but a lot like the setup changes things that we partner with, this kind of a basic community, so if that makes sense. “
You play UFC 4 at the end of this console cycle; what are you doing to make the most of the new systems?
We’re just doing everything we can – it’s not easy … especially to get in line with the recent announcement of [PS5 and Xbox Series X], to make a big wow, but we’ve always been a title that boasts strong visuals. And we’ve just done our best to get the most out of our existing technology to create a captivating visual and gameplay experience. So there are a lot of things we’ve done in terms of updating the gameplay cameras, something like updating, lighting and shaders to give the characters something more shapely. Somehow they make their musculature work in ways that weren’t in the past. And then there are just new experiences with things like a career mode, a new experience on board with a little more than an introductory cinematic story, introducing characters to help you get involved in the experience, but for the most part … we are were quite good at making games of the current generation. You know this is our fourth, our fourth in Gen 4, so it’s not necessarily as much as it is now, we seemed to already know what we were doing from UFC 3. So that was more than how we could create new experiences , given our knowledge of creating games on Gen 4? How can we just create new experiences and not necessarily something that pushes technology to a place that has never been before.
“We’ve always been a title that boasts strong visuals.” – Hayes
For the comment team this year, you moved away from Joe Rogan. Can you talk about that?
He’s not ashamed to say that in his podcast because he hates doing it. If you are not a person who just mentally finds yourself in this space, then I can see how it could be a very, you know, challenging, you know, potentially mind-numbing experience for a certain type of individual. And he just hated that he hated making sound, then that was something we know from UFC 1. He was open with us from the beginning, that he hated trying to make sound in previous iterations of other UFC games, and things weren’t better. -different to us. He hated making sound for these games as well. This has nothing to do with us in particular, or, you know, our games compared to other games. He just doesn’t like sitting in a booth, reading lines for hours at a time.