Bwoop. “I’m 8-3,” read a new instant message from FIGHT! Magazine managing editor Matt Brown. “I made my own guy.”
I chatted with Brown the day before, or at least I’d attempted to. You see, he’d gotten an advance copy of “UFC: Undisputed 2009” and kept stepping away from his desk to knock fools out while playing as Chuck Liddell. That night he went home, created his own character (a muay Thai/judo specialist), ran through training scenarios and fought 11 times. I wanted to clown on him but I couldn’t. In all honesty I was jealous.
January 16, 2007 seems like so long ago. It was the day game developer THQ announced it’s partnership with Zuffa to produce UFC-branded video games through 2011. By June of that year, when the development of “UFC: Undisputed” was formally announced, MMA fans officially geeked out, making judgments about the game based on the quality of previous iterations and the physics of THQ’s wrestling games. I was cautiously curious; I enjoy video games but don’t care to play much beyond a handful of EA Sports franchises. Besides, the spring 2009 release date sounded so ridiculously far away there as no reason to get worked up about it.
As the months marched by the THQ/UFC promotional machine whirred to life, releasing frame grabs, granting interviews, hosting gameplay previews and to be honest, I started looking forward to the game’s release. My enthusiasm was tempered by the fact that I don’t own an Xbox or PS3 and didn’t plan to buy one. I’d screw around with it over at a friend’s house or I’d rent a system for a weekend, hole up with the game and be done wit it. But after talking with Brown that simply won’t do.
I survived the endless press releases about motion capture, photorealistic gameplay, the pains developers took to represent each technique with honestly. I survived screen grabs, preview videos, and lists of fighters included in the game. But after a few minutes of online chatter with my buddy I started to geek out. I went from zero to sixty faster than an instant message. I went from thinking it maybe, kinda, sorta would be cool to play it to figuring out how I could work an Xbox and game into our monthly budget halfway through May.
Well played, THQ. You’ve turned my editor into a giggling man-child and rather than wag a condescending finger at him, I want to figure out how I can play, too. Money is tight but the game comes out today, or at midnight last night depending on where you live, and I’ve got half a mind to plunk down two bills for a system and another fiddy for the game today. After all, I work for an MMA magazine – I could probably expense it. Right, Matt? Matt?
Do you already have your copy of UFC: Undisputed 2009? Tell us what you like and what you’d like to see in 2010’s version.