In the build up to UFC 110 in Sydney this weekend, THQ gave us a first look at Undisputed 2010. Surprisingly, they've gone a long way beyond just a few tweaks and some new fighters. Get ready for unique fighter submissions, new fighting styles, a la carte moves, cage positions, and a lot more. Not because they had to. But because they wanted to.
Neven Dravinski, Producer on the 2009 title and again here on Undisputed 2010, told us they never planned to just iterate some skins and make a minor tweak to the system, saying that "crushing 2009 was our aim".
In just 10 minutes of demo time showing off the new game (using the headline card for Sunday's event, Nogueira vs Velasquez, as the demo) it was clear we're getting something familiar but a very big 'and then some' too.
The archetype fighters are gone, replaced by an a la carte system for choosing moves one-by-one. They've also added Karate, Greco-Roman, and Sambo fighting styles, giving specific moves to fighters who use them. If fighters have also become known for having used unique submission moves, they're putting them in the game as well.
There's also southpaw switching for fighters who do that, plus a sway and lean dodge system that looks great. This is part of enhancing the close fighting experience.
"2009 was a bit range-y," said Dravinski, "so we wanted to bring a real inside game into it."
Clinching has also been redesigned. This was where Dravinski suggested it wasn't because they really needed to, but simply because they wanted to make it better.
Don Gold was on hand from UFC management and told us they were keen to approach the next version with the aim of addressing any issues in 2009, and fans were vocal. "I think we bypassed 2010 and we've gone straight to 2011 or 2012 in terms of improvement."
Another hot update is the cage positioning. If you can get someone against the cage, it will weaken their kicks and punches and you can get in good position for a takedown. This also showed off a risk-reward influence where if you try for a tougher takedown you'll land in a better position in the ground hold.
One final element was the removal of spamming buttons for blocks when you're down. Instead, they're focusing on what they call their "shine" system of stick rotation, which they feel is a better experience.
And when you're on top on the ground, you won't have to constantly try to block and counter efforts to transition out from under you. Dravinski suggested they wanted you "to think about punching in the face more than blocking counters."
For fans of MMA, this is looking like a suprisingly comprehensive update to what was already a great quality title. Now you just have to wait until May to get your hands on it.
Oh, and if you want the tip from the demo, Nogueira wins by submission (arm bar).