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Fight Night Champion
EA Canada
Electronic Arts
Xbox 360
Exclusive Interview with EA: Fight Night Champion
December 7, 2010
By: Steve
We recently had the opportunity to work with the development team for Fight Night on an exclusive interview, and we are glad to share this with you.

These were answered by Jeff Atienza, the lead producer on Fight Night Champion.

XboxExclusive.com: Why have you decided to up the level brutality and level of violence?

Jeff Atienza: I wouldn?t say we are upping the level of brutality or violence in Fight Night Champion, I would say that we are making the overall visual presentation of our boxers and the damage they incur in our game to be more realistic and authentic to the sport. If you happened to catch the Pacquiao/Margarito fight a few weeks ago you will know what I mean. This year we will be pushing the realistic damage that occurs on a boxers face and body, and how that damage comes to paint the ring mat

How will the different method of analog stick control for punches affect gameplay? Is this designed to make the game more accommodating for newcomers?

First and foremost our new Full Spectrum Punch Control (FSPC) will address a bunch of concerns from our Total Punch Control (TPC)from
Fight Night Round 4. The two most notable concerns being:

1. I?m not getting the punch I meant to throw
2. No buttons

FSPC allows for quicker and more responsive inputs as well as easier to understand mechanics of throwing punches. It?s basic premise is flicking Direction on the Right Stick will result in a punch. Every angle on the Right Stick has a corresponding punch hence giving you a Full Spectrum of punches. FSPC also has buttons for punching available on the default control so you don?t have to go into the settings menu and change to button controls.

It?s all available from our hybrid solution, so even during the course of a round you can switch from throwing punches with the right stick to pressing buttons to throw punches.

You may wonder if this is dumbing down the control scheme. It?s actually the opposite, while it is easy to pick up and play/learn advanced users will like the nuances and fidelity that the different angle of punches gives them. So yes the game is more accommodating for newcomers, but long time fans of the game will also appreciate the controls as well.

Champion Mode takes the fighting outside the boxing ring ? a big departure for the series. Why did you decide to include things like prison brawling, and how do you think it enhances the overall package?

The fact that Fight Night is an unlicensed franchise gives us a ton of creative freedom. We are not bound by any leagues or licenses like the NFL, NHL or NBA, so we are able to approach game design a little differently. Everyone loves a great boxing movie and that?s what we wanted to bring to our fans. We wanted to combine the story, drama and characters of a great boxing movie with our award winning Fight Night gameplay and visuals to create an experience never seen before in sports gaming. We didn?t set out to add things like prison brawling and bareknuckles fights it happened organically as we worked with the writer (Will Rokos) on the script. I think we have accomplished something that and old and new fans of Fight Night will be pleased with.

One criticism of past Fight Night games has been that the punches lack impact. Have you tried to address this with Champion, and if so how?

With our new FSPC comes all new punch animations. All of our punches will have snap and look great upon impact. We have even added fatigued punches for when your boxers stamina is drained in the late rounds. Also new this year is the elimination of the haymaker punch. We don't have any over-the-top punch animations that no boxer in real life would throw. What we have added instead is a modifier button that changes your punches from normal punches to heavy punches, and not only are heavy punches thrown with more power, they can be applied to any punch you throw, from a jab to a hook. Certain fighters will have unique animations tied to these heavy punches, so now, a Mike Tyson uppercut will finally look as devastating as it did in real life. We have also added one-punch knockouts to the game. So now one clean punch no matter what round and what your health and stamina can end the fight.

What?s been done to improve the non-fighting aspect of the game?s career mode, such as training and levelling up?

We have done a ton to Legacy Mode in Fight Night Champion. We have added Amateur Fight Scoring, Sponsorships, Fight Purses, Fight Goals, challenges and Training Camps.

The most important addition is our new a new boxer level system to Fight Night Champion. This system will allow users to grow/build their boxers skills and attributes in defined areas as they see fit. Giving them the ability to create a truly unique boxer with a unique set of skills.

THQ?s UFC games have been a great critical success since their launch: do you see these as your key competition?

We try and achieve the highest quality gaming experience possible with Fight Night Champion. I wouldn?t say we have a main competitor but we definitely keep an eye on all of the great games coming out in the industry. EA SPORTS NHL and FIFA are two of the highest rated sports games of all time and it just so happens that they are made in the same studio as Fight Night. So there is always friendly competition even within in our own building.

Will Champion appeal to people not already into boxing, or is it being made to appeal to pre-existing fans of the sport?

I believe Fight Night Champion will appeal to people that love great video games period. We are working hard to deliver on the entire package ? award winning gameplay & visuals, online depth, a deep Career Mode on top of all of that we are looking to transcend sports gaming by adding a compelling interactive Cinematic experience.

Many thanks to Duke at EA Canada for setting this interview up!

Official Website: http://www.ea.com/fight-night
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