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February 22, 2010
UFC Undisputed 2010 & UFC 110
Media Event

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Proof the event was in Sydney!
While everybody else was hard at work on Friday, THQ thought it would be fitting to host a media event for UFC Undisputed 2010, conveniently coinciding with Sunday's UFC 110 (the first UFC to be hosted on Australian soil). Not being huge fans of Friday's (and massive UFC nuts), this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up, so Futuregamez sent Chris Gobbett Sydney-bound to find out more about THQ's upcoming MMA fighter.

The session was introduced by Don Gold (Executive VP of UFC), who opened the afternoon comparing Australia to Canada; both English-speaking countries, with fighting as part of our national (convict) culture and how we appreciate some good fisty-cuffs. This too is reflected in the sellout speed of UFC 110, where there are no spare tickets for Don and others to hand out to lovely ladies of the Sydney night-life.

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That's me (Chris) and Don Gold.
Jokes aside, Don expectedly had nothing but praise for Undisputed 2010 as compared to 2009's title (you can see our review of last years game here). Having a comparatively hands-on role between the UFC and THQ, Don iterated that it was this close relationship between UFC and THQ which then raised developers Yukes to break Undisputed out from their WWE game mould and raise the bar. If it doesn't look like it's exactly from what the fans see on a pay-per-view, they don't want it in the game; fans are number one in Don's book, so they're prioritising remaining true to them before making a dollar.

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Seeing UFC Undisputed 2010 in action.
Following sellouts of Undisputed 2009, the UFC have been actively seeking out new promotion avenues for Undisputed 2010, with Don being in talks with major retailers including JB Hi-Fi, VideoEzy and Blockbuster during his stay in Australia. Interestingly, this kind of promotion wasn't done last year. Given Undisputed 2009's success and sell-outs at varying retailers (which too was at a relative early stage of OneHD's UFC broadcasts), couple a greater public awareness of UFC together with THQ's upcoming promotion for Undisputed 2010, and this will definitely be a game that's going to be talked about.

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UFC Undisputed 2010 producer Neven Dravinski.
Fresh from the states, THQ had sent over Neven Dravinski (UFC Undisputed 2010's Producer) and Rob Pearsall (Associate Game Designer) with their current development build of the title to run through some of the new and improved features over last years title (which, mind you, scored a very respectable 89% and it won our fighting game of 2009 award). Neven and Rob played through a heavyweight matchup to demonstrate the game, fittingly mirroring UFC 110's heavyweight main event between Cain Velasquez and Minotauro Nogueira. Some features that we witnessed and were pointed out include:

- While Undisputed 2009 had 80 fighters which were essentially created via the create-a-fighter system, 2010 sports. More than 100 fighters, each individually photographed and textured (as such, bruises/cuts from training immediately prior to a fighter's photo had to be Photoshopped in some instances!)

- Fighting archetypes have been removed; while Undisputed 2009 had your fighter as a Boxer/wrestler, or perhaps Muai Thai/BJJ, now it is a more a la carte representation where players select individual moves from certain techniques including strikes and submissions). Karate, greco-roman wrestling and sambo move sets have also been added.

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Getting an MMA demonstration.
- The infamous Bruce Buffer 180 has now been included in the game (!).

- The number of animations is up on 2009's title to the tune of:
4x number of strikes
3x number of ground animations
2x number of submissions

- Certain fighters can now fight southpaw, with the ability to swap to Orthodox if the fighter supports it.

- Sways and leans are now included for dodging, rather than the purely range-based fighting of Undisputed 2009 where it was typically throw-and-retreat style standup gameplay. So now standup utilizes the inside game as well as range game.

- A new risk-reward based move system where moves with greater risk (eg such as swaying left-right to dodge punches rather than simply ducking) reap greater reward (where a swaying counter then has more damage than an uppercut from a ducked position). This was seen for both striking as well as takedowns.

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Face to face with Akimura.
- The clinch has been redesigned using the quarter-circle turn control system found in the ground game; so the player can get into better/worse positions in the clinch.

- The cage now plays a role rather than just being an invisible wall; it now deforms and players can get pinned up against it, which then lessens damage that is thrown from the pinned player (and increases what damage they receive) as well as limiting their range of available movements.

- In the ground game, players can adjust their posture in varying positions; such as in the mount you can posture up to rain down fists of pain, or stay low to prevent your opponent from transitioning. Players can strike from any position, knocked out from any position, submitted from any position (2009 was only one submission per position, while in Undisputed 2010 posturing will increase that).

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Winner of the UFC 110ís Heavyweight main event- Cain Velasquez.
- Already-begun submissions can now be switched; for instance a kimura can be switched halfway through to an arm-bar. You may end up in a worse (or better) position, but the option's there. For submission defense, button mashing has been removed in favour of the "shine"; a rapid rotating of the stick.

- Post-fight outfits are now included; player's official kit will be there, as well as the option to create your own for custom players; be it a gi, shirt and/or hat, etc

- Online feature of fight camps - similar to clans in other genres, where you can do training online where you're learning with your other friends - show each other new takedown defenses, etc

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At the Undisputed 2010 event with Gray Maynard.
Following the demonstration of the game, Neven was placed into a rear-naked choke, which was only to be released once he'd answered some extra burning questions...

When asked about the raging mane of fighter Clay Guida, which with clipping issues caused his late omission from Undisputed 2009, Neven "couldn't confirm nor deny" that Guida would be included (and fixed) in the up and coming title. If we were the betting sorts though, we'd be thinking this would be one of the first improvements they'd have made over Undisputed 2009. Randy Couture was one UFC fighter who he could confirm won't be making an appearance, due to contractual arrangements with EA; at least not in this Undisputed title.

And as for the big elephant in the room regarding PS3 MMA titles, Neven had surprisingly little to comment on feature comparisons between the two; given that Undisputed 2009 is currently the (pardon the pun) undisputed MMA title, THQ already has the jump on EA. The strength of the UFC isn't just one or two fighters, but rather it's the best of the best in every weight class and division too. While the PES/FIFA rivalry has shown that licenses aren't necessarily required to 'own' a genre, THQ's definitely in the stronger position given the scale and popularity of the UFC.

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Outside with Rampage Jackson.
With the choke-hold on Neven released, it makes one think about how the controls will play out in the final game; while the extra controls (and redesign) offer more power to a skilled player (and more realism to the game), it also can potentially further complicates an already complex controller scheme. Which sadly also translates into less casual multiplayer if a mate drops by and wants to check out the new UFC game, but without sitting through a marathon of tutorials prior.

That said, UFC Undisputed 2010 is definitely looking just as pretty as 2009's title, and with the extra gameplay additions and improvements it'll be a title that we're definitely looking forward to putting through it's paces closer to it's release in May.

Article By: Chris Gobbett

Talk about UFC Undisputed 110 in this forum topic now.

You can pre-order UFC Undisputed 2010 at the links at the top of the page.
Big thanks to THQ Australia for the invite to the media event reported above.