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  • Written by MiddleEasy @MiddleEasy

Bite into some turkey and read all about UFC 3 in this exclusive developer interview

In less than three months we will all be soccer kicking each other in Saitama Super Arena and it will be glorious. Knowing that scenario is in our collective future is enough to be thankful for on this fine Thanksgiving.

As you can see we aren't taking something like a national holiday as a reason to have a day off, we want to give thanks to each and every one of you who clicks that little red monster and reads our silly words. For that, MiddleEasy presents to you an exclusive interview with two of the main guys behind UFC Undisputed 3-Nevin Dravinski and Nick Robertson. Go ahead, make a plate, grab some family and crowd around the warm glow of your monitor/tablet and enjoy the interview together. Happy Thanksgiving!

You've taken almost an extra year on the development of UFC 3...Can you tell us what birthed the idea to take the extra time and ultimately in what areas did the game benefit most from the extra time....IE is the game taking that extra time to be more playtested and polished or was it used on the front end to brainstorm a user experience unlike one seen in MMA games before? Neven Dravinski—There were many things that prompted a longer development schedule for UFC Undisputed 3. I think first and foremost you touched on it; we wanted to make UFC Undisputed 3 the best possible Undisputed game to date in the franchise, the best possible MMA game as a whole and be among the leading games in the marketplace today. We did our development differently this year. We started focus testing from the beginning of development with hardcore Undisputed community players at the top of our leaderboards.

In addition, we brought in leading professional fighting gamers and avid sports gamers. This process was really invaluable for us to not only polish our systems but help design new offerings, such as the Amateur Controls and new submission system. In addition, working with our community really helped us proactively find exploits and balance the game. In addition, more practical matters extended the schedule as well. There is a significant amount of new content in UFC Undisputed 3, including but not limited to the addition of PRIDE Mode, which alone is akin to building a game within a game. Beyond this, creating and implementing more than 150 fighters, including newly added bantamweight and featherweight divisions, is a lengthy process. Overall, it became absolutely necessary to have extra time to make sure features like these were implemented properly, and ultimately, I think the game is better for it.

 

What's the framerate goal? Neven Dravinski — A hallmark of the UFC Undisputed series, we have always maintained a frame rate of 60 FPS on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. We did a lot of tuning this year to make sure the animations flow more smoothly and quickly into one another, which ultimately improves the overall gameplay experience. Even minor tweaks like the tuning the jab, a strike used extensively, improves the overall flow and smoothness of UFC Undisputed 3. Just seeing the differences in the game from last year to now is pretty amazing.

 

Tell us how THQ and or Zuffa came to the realization that PRIDE had to be in this game? Neven Dravinski — PRIDE is something our team has wanted to include in the franchise since its debut. However, our initial focus was really to make sure our core systems were ready before tackling something like this year’s PRIDE Mode. The things I’m most excited about in PRIDE Mode are the expanded rule set and the ability to bring UFC fighters into PRIDE rules and PRIDE fighters into UFC rules. It’s awesome, and it really speaks to our close relationship with Zuffa. I’m happy the team received the green light to include PRIDE this year.

 

How did you guys capture Saitama super arena so well? Did the dev team just sit around together and watch hours of Pride? (Sounds like the best job ever?) Neven Dravinski — Our team definitely enjoyed watching a lot of PRIDE videos! There’s so much to take into account: the hot white lighting, the crowds, the entrances, etc. I think it helped that our developer Yuke’s Osaka has a long history with PRIDE and the team is comprised of huge fans, but I also think it’s just par for the course with our team as a whole. We have people who have been MMA fans for a long time, and they are certain to make sure the little details will always stand out. The Saitama Super Arena is a great example of this effort.

 

What is the casual user going to notice and like about UFC 3 the most? What is the hardcore user going to appreciate? Neven Dravinski — One of our internal challenges was to get more people into the franchise. We know we have a deep technical fighting game that’s fun to play, but unfortunately, we can’t sit on everyone’s couches to explain the finer details of the systems. To that end, we implemented several educational systems that teach people how to play the game without forcing them to sit through an exhaustive tutorial. We have a tutorial hint system that pops up in-game, teaching casual users what to do (controller inputs) if they find themselves in a new situation. Between rounds, we have an interval advice system that shows players positive and negative feedback based on what they are doing in their current fight, complete with controller hints for improving play. Finally, the biggest thing for casual users is our new Amateur Control scheme. This control layout replaces the quarter-circle and greater-than-quarter-circle inputs on the right stick with a simple up and down flick on the right stick. Casual users can now get in the game and be competitive with more ease, as the barrier for entry on the ground and in clinch transitions is reduced with the Amateur Controls. However, many players will graduate to the Pro Controls, leaving them much more open to being reversed and offering less control of their transitions.

 

Finally, our new submission system has a graphic display on screen to indicate how close players are to winning or losing a submission. This new system will significantly help in online play or against difficult opponent AI. Speaking of advanced users, we’ve added a lot to the depth to the game: We are introducing a quick-strike interrupt system, where you can use quick strikes (attack button) to interrupt the trajectory of strong strikes (holding toward the opponent + attack). Thus, a jab can now be used to interrupt an opponent’s attacks and then set up your own attacks. In addition this year, players cannot counter grapple quick strikes. We had the ability to sway on the feet last year, and we’ve now extended this capability to the ground. Swaying on the ground is a great way to avoid additional strikes, and it also increases your transition window, thus extending your chances for survival. This year we’ve also removed the passive transition defense that was introduced last year, where the computer would automatically block transitions for you in certain situations. Players now have to be much more active in defending against an opponent. We have leg kick TKOs this year, as well as the ability to check leg kicks.

 

One of the cooler things I like that we’ve been able to put in is the concept of feints in the game. Holding block high + low at the same time as an attack will throw a feint attack, meaning there will be an initiation but a cancelled attack. This becomes especially effective when going for that leg kick TKO: you can fake the low attack, get your opponent to pull his hands down to check and then go up high for the KO. As a result, you can get a pretty good idea that even though we’ve made the game easier to get into, there’s still a lot of depth for the hardest of the hardcore users.

 

Leg kicks: please elaborate....how often will these leg kick KO's be a factor? Is there a chance for a 'flash' leg kick KO? That would be awesome if there was. Neven Dravinski —Leg kick TKOs will be a factor, but we were very careful to not make this an exploit that took fun out of the game. Leg kicks are a real strategy to employ now; the player can hack his opponent’s leg, hampering his movement and eventually getting the TKO. On top of that, the opponent has the ability to check your leg kicks as well. Much like the fight where Ultimate Fighter Corey Hill hurt his leg when throwing a low kick, you can get TKO’d yourself if your opponent is skillful enough at checking. There will not be any flash leg kick TKOs, but you don’t have to get your opponent’s leg to 100% damage to get a TKO.

 

When I played UFC 3 in Vegas I marveled at how incredible the head stomps and kicks were...super intuitive. Technically how difficult was Pride rules to achieve? Neven Dravinski — The moves in PRIDE Mode were certainly challenging, as we needed to make sure they felt natural and maintained the same flow as our previously established UFC dynamics. For example, a head stomp when an opponent is on the ground brings up questions not dealt with in previous games, such as what does the attacker do after the stomp or what positions does he have at his disposal. I think we did a good job of utilizing our previous dynamics for areas such as sub-positions; these really allow PRIDE gameplay to come across naturally. Want to kick a guy in the face when he’s down? Remember to aim high (LB + Kick). Overall though, I couldn’t be happier with how the mode turned out, and I’m eager to see the great YouTube videos that will be coming out after launch!

 

What are the odds of Gary LaPlante being a downloadable character in UFC 3 or the next game? Nick Robertson - Gary’s odds of making it into UFC Undisputed 3 are slim to none. However, after seeing his Shogun vs. Henderson reaction video, we might need to think about getting him into a future iteration.

 

It's one year after launch date...it's 2013....the Mayans were wrong-we are alive. How many total playable characters are in UFC 3? Nick Robertson - UFC Undisputed 3 will have more than 150 fighters. We can’t comment yet on DLC specifics, but we can say our plan this year is far more robust and includes some great fighters we were unable to include in the initial roster.

 

Will all of the preorder DLC be purchasable? I bought 1 copy of PS3 undisputed and 1 Xbox last time but I can't buy 4. Nick Robertson - All pre-order DLC items for UFC Undisputed 3 will be available for purchase at a later date.

 

What weight class do you think people are going to gravitate to the most? Nick Robertson - I think the lightweight division in PRIDE mode will be very popular. Based on how PRIDE weight classes are structured and our desire to let players compete with UFC fighters in PRIDE, the division will consist of the PRIDE lightweights and all of UFC’s lightweight, bantamweight and featherweight fighters. This makes for some very interesting matchups that one wouldn’t normally see in the UFC. For example, I personally like seeing how many UFC lightweights I can leg kick TKO with a guy like Jose Aldo.

 

Tell us more about this 'stat equalization'? Nick Robertson - Stat equalization in UFC Undisputed 3 enables players to stage a bout where both fighters have an 85 rating for ever statistic. For example, if your favorite fighter is Bob Sapp, you won’t have to worry about fighting someone like Junior dos Santos, who has a higher rating. The only difference between fighters at that point is move set. This makes the fight all about player skill.

 

Can you tell us specifically who can move up and down in weight classes?

Fighters in multiple UFC weight classes

  • Anderson Silva – Middleweight and Light Heavyweight
  • BJ Penn – Lightweight and Welterweight
  • Dan Henderson – Light Heavyweight and Middleweight
  • Diego Sanchez – Welterweight and Lightweight
  • GSP – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Jake Shields – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Joe Stevenson – Lightweight and Featherweight
  • Kenny Florian – Featherweight and Lightweight
  • Martin Kampmann – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Mike Swick – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Rich Franklin – Light Heavyweight and Middleweight
  • Vitor Belfort – Light Heavyweight and Middleweight
  • Wanderlei Silva – Middleweight and Light Heavyweight
  • Urijah Faber – Bantamweight and Featherweight
  • Akihiro Gono – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Pride Anderson Silva – Middleweight and Light Heavyweight
  • Pride Dan Henderson – Middleweight and Light Heavyweight
  • Jens Pulver – Lightweight and Featherweight
  • Kevin Randleman – Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight
  • Murilo Bustamante – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • Paulo Filho –Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Pride Vitor Belfort – Light Heavyweight and Middleweight
  • Pride Wanderlei Silva – Light Heavyweight and Middleweight
  • Fighters that can fight in multiple Pride weight classes

  • Georges St-Pierre – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Wanderlei Silva – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • Anderson Silva – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • BJ Penn – Lightweight and Welterweight
  • Jake Shields – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Pride Anderson Silva – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • Murilo Bustamante – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • Paulo Filho – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Akihiro Gono – Welterweight and Middleweight
  • Kevin Randleman – Heavyweight and Middleweight
  • Pride Wanderlei Silva – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • Pride Dan Henderson – Middleweight and Welterweight
  • Nick Diaz – Lightweight and Welterweight
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