EA SPORTS UFC Heads into Gamescom 2013

By EA SPORTS Fighting Aug 16, 2013

Brian Hayes is the Creative Director for EA SPORTS UFC and a 12-year veteran of the video game industry. At E3, we asked Brian 10 questions about where the game was headed at the time.

In the wake of the announcement that pre-alpha (also known as really, really early in development) EA SPORTS UFC gameplay will be revealed at Gamescom, we caught up with Brian to see what the dev team has been up to and what fans can expect in EA SPORTS UFC.

What were your thoughts on the initial reaction to the EA SPORTS UFC Gameplay Features reveal at E3?

It was great to be at E3 with a quality slate of EA SPORTS titles. The initial reactions to EA SPORTS UFC were really positive. We were very early in development so we only had a tiny amount of gameplay that we could show, but people were very impressed and left wanting more.

There have been only about two months since E3. What have you been doing during that time?

The reaction from fans coming out of E3 was that people wanted to see more gameplay. We’ve been working hard trying to get things together so we can show some more gameplay at Gamescom. It’s a challenge because we are still months away from hitting Alpha (a very early checkpoint in game development that is followed by months of polish) and we normally wouldn’t show anything at this stage. We’ve also been brushing up on our Jiu-Jitsu skills with training sessions with Kron Gracie at the EA SPORTS gym.

How excited are you to be showing off pre-alpha gameplay and what can fans expect to see?

It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. We want to give fans a look at the game in development. We’re nowhere near finished, but we are confident that fans will be pleased with the progress we’re making and will realize that the game is only going to get better as we get closer to launch.

One of the EA SPORTS UFC gameplay features that will be a focus at Gamescom will be Dynamic Striking. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

In simple terms, we want to take everything we learned and developed while making games like Fight Night and apply it to the kicks, knees, elbows, spinning backfists and everything else you can do in MMA. The sport is evolving so quickly and we need to make sure we recreate the intensity and impact of the wide variety of attacks the elite fighters in the UFC use in the octagon. That includes strikes that utilize the cage, like Anthony Pettis’ famous Showtime Kick or Jose Aldo’s Superman Punch.

Gamescom is in Cologne, Germany. Are you excited to show the game to our European audience? What are your thoughts on how the sport has grown in Europe/Worldwide?

We’re definitely excited to be showing the game at Gamescom. Mixed Martial Arts is a truly international sport and the UFC is really working hard to make inroads around the world. With talented fighters like Alexander Gustafsson, Michael Bisping, and Conor MacGregor (just to name a few) the sport is really poised to experience tremendous growth in Europe, the United Kingdom and all over the world. It’s an exciting time.

What was your experience like at UFC Fan Expo this year?

The UFC Fan Expo is always a cool experience. It’s awesome that the UFC hosts that event and gives the fans that level of access to all the fighters and UFC personalities. Since we were doing more character scanning, I had the good fortune to meet a bunch of fighters, the Octagon girls and Bruce Buffer. Definitely the coolest thing that happened was getting choked out by UFC Women’s Bantamweight Cat Zingano. I mean, I was completely unconscious for a good 7 seconds. Seriously!

Your favorite fighter is the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung. What are your thoughts on his recent loss to Aldo at UFC 163?

Man, it was heart-breaking to see him go out like that. Trying to pop his own shoulder back in before Aldo came in for the kill. Then to find out that Aldo broke his foot in the first round. It’s not the fight I was expecting to see – I expected to see more aggression from KZ and more kicks from Aldo – but it was still entertaining. It looked like KZ was getting things going in the 3rd and 4th too. It could have been a very interesting final round if that injury didn’t happen. All credit to Aldo though, that was a gutsy performance for three and half rounds on a broken foot.

UFC Fight Night this weekend features a seriously deep card: Shogun vs. Sonnen; Overeem vs. Browne; Faber vs. Alcantara; Brown vs. Pyle; Hall vs. Howard – any predictions?

I cannot believe how stacked this card is. Thankfully my flight for Gamescom isn’t until the 18th so I won’t miss a thing. I think Sonnen-Shogun will be a war. I expect Overeem to keep his hands up and his chin down and perform much closer to what people expect of him. Browne is a freakishly athletic big guy, but Alistair’s kickboxing pedigree is unmatched at heavyweight. Mike Pyle has the best hair, but Matt Brown has been on a tear lately. The only real prediction I have is that I will be watching the whole thing from start to finish.

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