UFC 4 will be coming out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 14th August, but one somewhat surprising move is that EA are removing the Ultimate Team mode that featured in UFC 3.
We asked Creative Director Brian Hayes why the mode was cut, his answer being, “That’s largely come down to looking at the data we have of people playing the game. It was never really the best conceptual fit for a 1v1 fighting game and we always struggled to find ways to make it make sense the same way it makes sense in team-based sports games. It’s called Ultimate Team because it works really well with team sports!
“In comparison to the other games where Ultimate Team is really strong, the engagement on UFC was in no way comparable. So we took the approach, instead of trying to bang our heads against this wall and make something that doesn’t seem to quite fit, we took those resources and tried to create something with the connected fighter profile, the vanity system and the global connected fighter profile, and things like that that rewards every single player with a sense of progression and reward and customisation that doesn’t affect gameplay, that’s just vanity based.”
Even without Ultimate Team, the game will still feature microtransactions, though these will be limited to purchasing cosmetic items, or buying the pre-order bonus fighters Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury separately.
That said, one thing that’s important to note is that you do not need to spend cash to unlock any of these things. Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury can be unlocked by playing the career mode, and all of the cosmetics are earned through regular run of play.
UFC 4 is out next month for PS4 and Xbox One, bringing an enhanced career mode and character progression that takes every successful strike into account to evolve your fighter’s abilities. The core fighting gameplay has been enhanced with Real Play Motion being fed into the clinch system and takedowns, submission minigames are given an overhaul to make them simpler, there’s a new grapple assist scheme (though legacy grapple controls are an option), and there’s VFX and SFX to emphasise when high impact hits land.
Recognising the popularity of custom character, EA are expanding how you can use your fighter throughout the game. Through the whole game you can earn a wide array of custom gear, taking things to some pretty wild extremes – fancy wearing a lion head? – but you can also compete with your custom character online, switching weight divisions and picking from 12 balanced fighter archetypes to ensure a fair fight.
Though there’s no Ultimate Team, the Online World Championship mode remains skill-based matchmaking and a divisional progression and regression system. There’s also the new Blitz Battles mode, which are 64-player dynamic tournaments with short rounds that match you up with other fighters on the same win streak as you, with six wins in a row required to be a champion.
Given the timing of the game’s release, EA are focussed purely on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game, and would not commit to natively supporting next-gen systems. Brian Hayes explained, “If both consoles support backwards compatibility for Gen 4 games then, presumably, fans will be able to play UFC 4 on their Gen 5 consoles. We haven’t yet had an opportunity to test this out and determine whether any additional development work is required to leverage Backward Compatibility, but we hope to see UFC 4 playable on Gen 5 hardware using that feature.”
Source: press release, interview