With UFC 210 around the corner, there are two other particular milestones many fighting fans will be looking forward to this year. First, of course, is the planned return of the greatest Welterweight Champion in UFC history, and Canada’s second most famous athlete after Wayne Gretzky, Georges St. Pierre. Georges (or GSP for short) has a yet to be scheduled fight against Michael Bisping for the Middleweight Title after a four-year hiatus from the sport. The second milestone is certainly the expected release of the next installment in the EA Sports UFC franchise. We have already spoken about how EA Sports UFC 3 could improve upon previous iterations in the franchise and the previous Undisputed series in terms of gameplay. This article focuses on how EA Sports UFC 3 can build upon its predecessor in how it incorporates the game with the unfolding of real life UFC events. Upcoming UFC 2010 proves to be the perfect example of how these improvements could be made.
Presently, owners of EA Sports UFC 2 have the option to predict who they will think will win each match-up at each real life UFC event as well as how the fight will end and in which round. While Las Vegas gamblers may get rich (or very poor) on these picks, the purpose of them within EA Sports UFC 2 is to allot points to a gamer’s Ultimate Team. The main lost opportunity with this current system is that it removes the “game portion” of EA Sports UFC 2 from the real world event. It turns into making Las Vegas picks that happen to help your virtual career instead of a more organic link between the real UFC event and the game.
My suggested fix for EA Sports UFC 3 is to create a stronger interaction between UFC events and the potential Ultimate Team perks that can be gained in the game. The solution is that instead of simply picking the expected winner, round and method of finish for all of the fights in a real UFC event to get the points, the game should have you play each fight on the main card as the fighter you think will win at the real world event and challenge you to finish it in the manner and round you think most likely to be correct. In my estimation, this throws that game completely on its head and will use the upcoming UFC 210 pay-per-view event’s main card to illustrate the point.
Charles Oliveira VS Will Brooks
My pick, if I were to be going by the EA Sports UFC 2 system of simply choosing a winner, would be to select Oliveira by submission in Round 2. Case closed. This does not integrate well with how I play the game though. With my idea, if I thought that was the real life outcome I would have to reproduce it to get the Ultimate Team bonuses. This is where intrigue is brought into my system. My ground and submission game are generally weak in EA Sports UFC 2, the exact polar opposites of Oliveira in real life who excels at those things. The result? I am forced out of my comfort zone in the game and have to fight a style I am less adept at in order to secure a win that will match the manner of what I think will happen in real life. It also serves as a subtle way to force gamers to abandon their traditional fighting styles and instead prompts them to fight the fight closer to the style of the real world combatants.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson VS Daniel Cormier
My pick, if I were to be going by the EA Sports UFC 2 system of simply choosing a winner of the UFC 210 headliner, would be to select Cormier by late submission or decision as he is known to drag out fights. I know that Rumble Johnson has the ability to knock-out any person walking this earth and that if his fist lands on someone’s jaw, it is lights out, Rumble’s real life skills of devastating power also match well with how I play the game. I am always head-hunting looking for the one punch that will end a fight. I might loose some decisions or get caught in a bad submission but if someone wants to stand toe-to-toe with me they are ending their night unconscious on the mat, just like Johnson’s real life opponents. Therefore, if Ultimate Team bonuses were to be granted based on having your fight in the game match the real world outcome I would choose to play as a fighter whom I think has less chance of winning in real life only because I think it is a better chance that if he were to win at UFC 210 that my gamer skills would mirror his methods.
As I hope the previous two fight previews of UFC 210 show, there is a real opportunity for EA Sports UFC 3 to improve the Ultimate Team mode by having players fight to matches of an upcoming event in the hopes of predicting the winner and method of finish. Many sports games have players attempt to recreate notable sporting highlights after the fact. This potential mode upgrade would instead truly be gamers trying to make life imitate art instead of the opposite. In essence, it would further blind the schism between real sport and the game it hopes to emulate which in the end is all that EA Sports could hope to achieve with EA Sports UFC 3 and would be an incentive to play the game ahead of each UFC event.