Between EA MMA and UFC Undisputed, the big boys have got the sport of MMA all tied up. Or have they? There’s still room for a small developer to sneak into the niche that these heavyweights have left, apparently, to develop an unlicensed MMA sporting title.
A game like that wouldn’t have to split its profits with the license holder or adhere to the rules and ethos of the sport: the developer would be liberated to create an MMA game exactly as it pleases – and that’s the point where the appropriately named Kung Fu Factory has stepped into the cage.
The Los Angeles-based developer has already developed an original UFC title on the Dreamcast, and a low-profile role in the creation of the THQ’s UFC Undisputed, so it has the pedigree to go it alone and create its own take on the sport.
The most intriguing part about Supremacy MMA is that it’s free to go back to the roots of MMA that has exploded in popularity since the eighties, and focus on the underground fighting scene. It inevitably means a more brutal and gratuitous game than the relatively sanitised matches that the UFC or Strike force organisations sanction for licensed game today.
Fights are more likely to end in broken limbs, knockouts and buckets more blood as the rules that govern bouts in Supremacy make Herb Dean look like a nanny and the Octagon a crèche. The dingy bars and underground clubs are a stark contrast to the bright, supervised arenas of the licensed sport and the clientele is a rougher cut to the average UFC jock.
Kung Fu Factory has developed an engine specifically to handle consistent variation between each member of the crowd, called the Million Monkey Engine, so you won’t have to put up with seeing wifebeater-clad hick Billy-Bob and his identical siblings every time the camera pans along the cage.
The way Kung Fu Factory deals with underground fighting could make the difference between a sublimely playable slice of MMA combat history and a facile Mortal Kombat clone. Treat the sport with the respect it deserves and this title could go far.