How Fight Night Was Pushed Aside For UFC
In 2011 the latest and possibly last Fight Night game in the series was released by EA Sports called Fight Night Champion. It released with high acclaim by reviewers and fans, and another game in the series was almost a guarantee with EA sending out questionnaires with what fans would like to see in “Fight Night 6” but something changed all these plans at E3 2012.
THQ had the rights to create UFC games until 2012, and with THQ soon to be going bust, the UFC needed to find a new team to develop their games. This is where EA Sports comes to the rescue even though the UFC president Dana White he “would never do business” with EA Sports after EA wanted nothing to do with the UFC in 2008, but after seeing sales figures for the THQ UFC game (released in 2009) they started development for their own MMA game called “EA MMA” which released in 2010.
When the announcement was made that EA and UFC will be working together to make their first game, I was happy at first because I liked EA MMA, and if it was EA MMA with UFC fighters it’ll be worth playing for sure. Then the news comes out that the Fight Night team “EA Vancouver” will be developing the EA UFC titles, which leaves Fight Night without a developer. I wondered if this means they would develop EA UFC and release that then move over to Fight Night so each title has a little big of space between each other rather than being a yearly title.
Then one year passes and the news breaks that “Fight Night is on a definite hiatus” and that the teams only focus for now is on EA UFC. People who have been Fight Night fans for years were left in the dark about the future of their only boxing fix in video gaming. Last year EA UFC was released, and a Fight Night return was ruled out again as the dev team went on to support the game with fighter updates until 3 months ago. The last update from the EA UFC team mentioned how they was moving on to development of the next title which all but confirms there won’t be another Fight Night title for even longer.
Why Now Is The Right Time To Bring Back Fight Night
In just a few days the biggest fight we have seen in over a decade will take place, and it’s expected to smash all time PPV records, and will have the spotlight on boxing more than we have seen in years. Why would EA refuse to capitalize on this momentum that boxing currently has, sure the last game wasn’t a huge seller but it wasn’t a bad seller it still sold close to 2 million copies.
Back when Fight Night Champion was released, boxing was also going through a transitional period with many of the biggest stars today either being low ranked prospects or up and coming world champion challangers. In 2011 the boxing scene was dominated by fighters who are either retiring soon or are retired now. From 2011 onwards we have had boxers like Gennady Glovokin, Saul Alvarez, Andre Ward, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Danny Garcia, Terrance Crawford, Sergey Kovalev, and many other talents that can be featured in a new game.
In previous Fight Night games, there was more legends than current boxers on the roster as fans wanted to play as legends more than current boxers because the talent pool back then didn’t have the boxers we have now. Now these new breed of fighters are starting to catch on with the boxing audience, the fans now want to fight as them in games rather than going to the legends like previous games.
It also helps that these boxers that are gaining big fan bases are from all over the globe meaning that there will be a spike in sales of fans wanting to fight as the boxer that is popular in their country, but EA Sports have failed to capitalize on the potential goldmine that a new boxing game can bring. We have talked previously about EA Sports not listening to their fans which can be found here. I’ve seen countless of tweets and posts about “when will we see Fight Night on PS4/Xbox One” and even a petition being made, but still nothing from EA.
Fight Night was a slowly built up series, it took until the final Fight Night game that we even got a ref in the ring. Something that simple took 5 games and almost 10 years to even get. If getting a ref took that long, think about all those features that should be in a boxing game that NEVER got to be in the Fight Night series. The gameplay also never reached it’s full potential, as the devs was making just small steps to make the game a full boxing sim instead of it being arcadey.
EA Sports are asked daily by fans if Fight Night is coming back, Fight Night sells more than UFC, the brand of Boxing is more valuable than UFC, and Fight Night is better received by fans and critics. After all that you really question why EA continues to ignore boxing, and push their UFC games. I have a theory why they do this, and it refers back to the news I mentioned at the start of the article when EA wanted nothing to do with the UFC all of them years ago.
EA didn’t want the UFC brand in 2008 because they thought it would never make them money, when they saw it was making money they wanted in and eventually got it. EA thought boxing was a dying sport that won’t sell so they dropped it, but 4 years later they still think this even though boxing is doing the best it has done in years, and if any developer was to release a boxing game then now would have been the perfect time.
Fight Night Round 3 which was one of the launch window titles of the Xbox 360 was always praised for being one of the first and best “next gen” looking titles at the time. Fight Night Round 3 was the game to get for Xbox 360 which is why sales figures are as high as any other Fight Night game. Now when you look at the game the graphics are just “okay” when you have PS4/Xbox One graphics imagine what could be done with a Fight Night game, how good could that look if we was wowed with the 360 version 10 years ago.
It makes no sense, EA want money and fans want a Fight Night game. Wouldn’t it make sense for EA to give fans what they want while making money at the same time? EA UFC flopped, a majority of people didn’t like it, but EA still think it’s worth having over Fight Night. Will we ever see a Fight Night/Boxing game through EA Sports again? I don’t think so, and it’s a real shame.
What are your thoughts on Fight Night? Should it return? Should EA drop UFC? Or should another publisher get behind a boxing game if EA doesn’t want to make boxing games anymore? Let us know in the comments section below.