Fans of the sweet science will have to wait a while for their next electronic fix, as EA has announced that as of now their upcoming UFC game is monopolizing their fight-sports efforts. Speaking to IGN, head of EA Sports Andrew Wilson said, “Right now, a great portion of the core of the Fight Night team are actually the team that are building UFC.” Wilson went on to add, “Do I see a future for Fight Night? You know, sure. But right now, UFC is where our fighting focus is.”
It’s not hard to see why. While the major boxing PPVs and stars continue to make big bucks, mixed martial arts as a whole, and the UFC in particular, has managed to largely overtake it in the popular consciousness. Setting aside the relative merits of either sport, it really comes down to saturation. The UFC’s stranglehold on top talent has ensured their ability to put on quality cards at a consistent rate, often running 3-4 events per month. It’s not just PPV either, as free shows on FX (now Fox Sports 1), primetime specials on Fox and the long running Ultimate Fighter reality series have not only pushed mixed martial arts into the mainstream, they’ve essentially made UFC and MMA synonymous for the average viewer. EA’s never been one to shy away from a bandwagon (Rock Band anyone?), and so it’s no big surprise that the company is moving full steam ahead after picking up the UFC rights from the now-defunct THQ. This will actually be EA’s second attempt at an MMA title, having released EA Sports MMA in 2010. That title, which put the focus on the handful of high-profile fighters outside the UFC, drew the ire of UFC President Dana White and lead to some choice words, but as they say time and huge sacks of money heal all wounds.
EA does have some big shoes to fill, as former developer Yuke’s three Undisputed entries managed to garner praise pretty much across the board. Then again the Fight Night crew are no slouches when it comes to quality sports fighting games, so hopefully the license has landed in the right hands. Either way, boxing fans shouldn’t be too disheartened. While an annualized Fight Night series probably isn’t in the cards, boxing remains too popular for EA to ignore it entirely, and hopefully whatever game comes next will benefit from a few years’ worth of innovation.
In the meantime, please enjoy 100 seconds worth of brain damage:
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