Hello PlayStation.Blog! You may or may not heard of 345 Games, but we are part of Viacom Entertainment Group, which also houses cable TV channels like Spike TV and Comedy Central. We’ve also launched a few recent PSN games such as Deadliest Warrior and Ugly Americans. I wanted to take some time and let you all know that our next title Bellator MMA Onslaught will be arriving to PSN this summer.
Bellator MMA Onslaught is an arcade-style fighting game grounded in the reality of an established MMA brand. If you’ve never heard of the Bellator Fighting Championships, it’s an MMA organization that currently airs on MTV2 but will be moving to Spike TV starting in 2013. Bellator is unique compared to other MMA leagues in that tournaments are held to determine who fights for the championship belt rather than having promoters select the fighter for a championship match. If you win, you move on. If you lose, you go home. This philosophy works well in the video game space, where we are used to tournament-style progression and earning your way to the top.
Our high-level goal for the game design is to create an MMA game that is accessible to a wider gaming audience. Whether you are a fan of the sport, have a passing interest, or have never seen a real match – you should be able to pick up this game and get the feel of it right away. You don’t need to have a black belt or be an MMA aficionado to be successful. Knowing a bit of MMA may help you a bit, kind of like how knowing something about basketball helps in NBA Jam. But being an MMA neophyte certainly won’t prevent you from getting into the fighting mechanics.
Making an accessible MMA game is easier said than done. We’re not trying to simplify the rules of the sport, per se — we’re trying to make the mechanics easier to grasp. As MMA fans will tell you, the sport is highly technical, especially when the fight goes to the ground. We want to meld moves seen in real MMA matches and combine them with the subtle complexity of game mechanics seen in traditional fighting games like parries, counters, and combos. Now we’re not talking about exploding fireballs and 40-hit combos, but three- or four-hit combos that provide an added bonus when executed successfully during a fight.
To make the sport easier to grasp, we are focusing on pacing, responsiveness, and fluidity. We want the player to be constantly engaged and keep the fight moving at a fast pace like you see in many arcade sports titles. Controls will be responsive like you would see in an arcade fighting game. If it means we have to speed up an animation, then we’ll speed up the animation.
The biggest difference between our game and an MMA simulation is that the pacing of the fight is the same whether you are standing, tied up in the clinch, or fighting on the ground. To keep the pace moving when fighters start grappling, we use quick, seamless transitions to move from one position to the next. These transitions are executed by using simple stick movements and their fluid nature will feel more organic than a simulated version of the same moves.
Since there are so many different fighting styles in MMA, we want to make player-created characters the star of the show, letting the player create a fighter that suits their style of play. Many games have allowed players to create in-game characters, but we felt that it would be better to give the player the ability to customize just about every aspect of their fighter. It’s too early to reveal all of the details about your fighter’s progression, we do plan to allow players to add, upgrade, and even replace the animations in their move list by simply leveling up. You will also be able to upgrade skills that improve the base attributes of your fighter. Players will have the ability to balance their fighter based on how they want to fight when they get in the cage. Our current plan is to allow players to earn experience points in both online and local game modes. Most of the PS3 Trophies will be unlocked through your created fighter.
The game is still a work in progress and we would definitely appreciate your feedback. Look for Bellator MMA Onslaught to hit the PS Store in this summer.