Exclusive: Fight Night Champion Q&A

In anticipation of Fight Night Champion, releasing this Friday, we interview Mike Mahar, Producer of Fight Night Champion.

The previous Fight Night games weren’t localized for non-English languages. Now that the focus is on the new story mode, are you planning some kind of localization (subtitles or dubbing)?

MMAHAR – the game as whole is localized in English, French, and German. This equates to all Front End Menu options and text appearing in those languages where applicable. There’s even in game announcer and play by play audio in French! Champion mode will be localized via sub titles.

Will we be able to throw some hits during a clinch?

MMAHAR – Hitting in the clinch isn’t something we were able to work into the game in a meaningful and accurate way for Fight Night Champion. The user is able to literally get chest to chest or head to chest close to their opponent and hit them. By the way….holding and hitting is illegal in boxing ;)

Judging from the demo, the healing process between rounds is fully automatized now – will it be the same in the final version, and if yes, why you made this choice?

MMAHAR – The between round process has been automated and will remain that way in the final version of the game for a couple of reasons. 1) How much healing the user receives is predicated on their actions from the previous round. Being judicious and accurate with your punches will reward you with more stamina. Protecting a cut or swelling will reward you by it healing faster. In this respect the process it pretty realistic. 2) Our telemetry data indicates an overwhelming majority of users automated the between round process in both Fight Night Round 3 and in Fight Night Round 4….we believe the best way to ensure users have an optimal fight experience is by delivering accurate between round healing and getting users back into the ring so they can fight…as quickly as possible. The design in Fight Night Champion does just that.

 

Again, judging from the demo, defending yourself became much easier, it’s only a button press now. Defense was made easier from FN3 to FN4, and now again – was it too complex for the majority of players?

MMAHAR – Hmmmm….I kinda see what you’re getting at. The actual UI mechanic required to block is more user friendly…no doubt. It’s a single button press now. BUT….this alone doesn’t guarantee the user will block a punch. If a user were to hold down the block button and stand in one place while an opponent unleashed a flurry of punches…many of the punches will get through and cause some serious damage. For best results the user is still required to time their blocks effectively to ensure they block each punch and create a counter opportunity. Trying to do this against a skilled opponent IS NOT EASY. The best defense is to move your head and feat and avoid being hit at all. Combining ring movement, head movement, and blocking all together makes the defensive aspect of the game every bit as strategic as the real thing.

We heard about the prison match in story mode – is the gameplay somehow different here, or is it the same as during the official matches?

MMAHAR – As you can imagine … fighting a bare knuckle match in a maximum security prison is a slighting different experience than that of an officially sanctioned boxing match…which is to say…it is COMPLETELY different. Let’s just say you better be prepared to throw the rule book out the window and you’d better know how to throw a low blow or two.

Could you tell us some details about the online game modes? Apart from Player and Ranked matches, is there an option for something more organized (a tournament maybe, like in FN4)?

MMAHAR – We’ve added several new online game modes to Fight Night Champion. The biggest of which is Online Gyms. Those of you familiar with Online Clubs or Leagues from other EA SPORTS titles will find a little of both of those in Online Gyms…and much more (including tournaments). Plus…we’ve added the ability for you and your gym mates to challenge other Gyms in Rivalry Matches …with a chance to earn Online Gym Rankings, Trophies, XP for your Created Boxers, and much more. Another online addition is Online High Scores which tracks all of your scores and records from offline and online and ranks them against your friends and the best in the world. Now you’ll know which one of your friends is lying or telling the truth when they say the beat Mike Tyson in 1 round on the hardest difficulty level.

We know that you won’t use Kinect for gameplay, but is it possible to import your face (and maybe your full body) with Kinect into the game? We had a blast punching each other after we took our pictures in FN4, but the process wasn’t the friendliest…

MMAHAR – There is no Kinect support in Fight Night Champion. The process by which you can create a boxer has been improved and we’ve added …literally…100’s and 100’s of new options to the Create Boxer feature…including tattoos. (Yes you can put tattoo’s on your face)

Almost all other EA Sports games feature some manager-type gameplay elements, like in FIFA, you can be the manager of the club, and play the games too. Are there any plans for the future to include something like this in a Fight Night game?

MMAHAR – The simulation career experience in Fight Night Champion is played from the perspective of the boxer. We feel there is so much room for growth in this area that we’ve focused on the user as a boxer in order to deliver the best experience we can.

Is there any in game bonus for those who played or completed FN3 and/or FN4? Not necessarily something big, but it’s always awesome when a game acknowledges that you played with the previous games in a series.

MMAHAR – Our diverging tech prevented us from implementing a feature like this…but rest assured…if we make another Fight Night we’ll be looking to implement a feature like this.

Is there an option to choose or customize the players’ intro show (when they enter the arena)?

MMAHAR– Absolutely!! The user can customize their intro music, their name, nickname, ring walk animations, ring FX , and more! It wouldn’t be boxing if you couldn’t.

Is there a way to change weight classes more than once during a carrier? (In FN4 it was limited to a one time opportunity, but in real life it’s pretty common – just look at Pacquiao’s carrier.)

MMAHAR – I believe we allow the user to jump up at least two weight classes. There’s so much to do in each weight class…win at least 6 belts, dozens of fight challenges, sponsors…that I don’t think the user will be at a loss for things to accomplish.

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