E3 2013 Preview: How Ignite Engine makes you 'feel the fight' in EA Sports UFC

EA SPORTS UFC Screenshot - EA Sports UFC feel the fight

Back in middle school, I used to box. Granted, I was only in middle school, but still, I've taken a punch. I know what it's like to get hit. But for those of you who haven't ever taken a blow to the head, or been choked unconscious, you soon will. This is all thanks to EA Sports Ignite technology which was on full display at E3 2013. Throughout EA's press conference, four titles had been the focus -- Madden, FIFA, NBA Live, and UFC. All four were shown off with Ignite technology on the show floor of E3 -- in one way or another.

For EA Sports UFC, we were shown only a very brief tech demo in which we could press the buttons to see the facial expression of a fighter change. It was a display of EA's next generation of True Player Motion, designed to showcase the "diverse, powerful, and fluid of attacks" that will be made possible only with Ignite technology. After fiddling around with the expressions and admiring the lifelike facial features like each individual strand of facial hair, wrinkles, and skin blemishes, I was told (during a presentation) just how EA Sports UFC plans to have you "feel the fight."

Full body deformation and real-time exertion

EA Sports UFC real damage

In past UFC titles, physical contact between fighters was limited to bodies that barely made contact with each other; the result was models that behaved and looked like plastic figurines. EA Sports UFC looks to change all that with fully body deformation and real-time exertion. This means realistic movements and reactions to what occurs in the Octagon. Admittedly, from a distance some of this wasn't too noticeable, but upon closer inspection, the realistic detail was astonishing. 

You could see each part of the figher's body reacting to the moves that were taking place. Where parts of the body collided, you could see the elastic skin shift. We were shown a clip of a chokehold in which you could see the fighter's vein popping from his neck, skin discoloration as a result of the lack of oxygen, and muscles flexing from the hold. Additionally, real damage allows for more realistic injuries. Cuts and bruises will be more lifelike than ever before. A side-by-side comparison showed the difference between the injuries of past games, which were simply drawn on red lines, and the ones with Ignite. The latter were more lifelike, with depth and realistic textures.

Dynamic striking, precision movement, and strategic submission battles

EA Sports strategic submission battle

Looks aside, EA Sports UFC wants a more realistic gameplay experience as well. This means smarter AI, now called MMAI. Every fighter will have changing goals and plans based on real-life tendencies. Their strategy throughout a fight will change depending on the situation.

In terms of the actual fighting, precision movement takes into account all the physics of a fighter -- weight, speed, balance, etc. -- and allows for a mroe realistic physics-driven movement. Your strikes and takedowns will be more believable as a result. And once you take your opponent down, you'll have to win the battle for postion. EA Sports UFC introduces a new system that has players fight through multiple stages of a takedown in order to determine a successful or failed fight-ending submission.

Overall thoughts?

EA Sports UFC certainly looked fantastic in the tech demo shown to me. Unfortunately, without any real hands-on time or a lengthier look at an actual fight, it's hard to determine the overall quality of this year's game. It certainly seems more realistic than ever, and I'm excited for the greater amount of detail, but I'm still curious as to the speed of the game and the actual fluidness of controlling the fighter. UFC is all about fluidity and smoothness; without experiencing the responsiveness it's hard to draw a formidable conclusion. I can say, however, that the Ignite technology is very impressive and I look forward to seeing what more it can do.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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