Train2Game recently sat down for a chat with THQ’s UFC Undisputed 3 Senior Game Designer Wes Bunn at a preview event in London. In an in depth interview with The Train2Game Blog, Bunn discussed developing UFC Undisputed 3, Game Design, QA Testing, getting into the industry and much more.
In the first part of this two part interview, the THQ Senior Game Designer discusses the game design process for UFC Undisputed 3. Read it right here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page. As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.
Part two of The Train2Game Blog interview with Wes Bunn is right here.
Train2Game Blog: First of all, tell us what your role as Senior Game Designer for UFC Undisputed 3 involves?
Wes Bunn: Pretty much every area of the game from combat to modes to everything! And I’ve been on the franchise since 2006; I was the original designer on the project so I’ve been working on this game for the past six years.
How did you get started with the first project, and how have you keep UFC Undisputed titles fresh?
It’s actually pretty crazy to see the evolution of the past three games. Back in 2006 when I first started there was no game, it was all on paper, all theories about how the game would work. To see where it is now, it’s come a long way and UFC Undisputed 3 is really what I say is five years of development, not just the last two years that we’ve been working on it. Because we’ve always been trying to improve each year and I think that this year when people play it they’ll feel a difference and see it’s by far the best one.
So when you’re designing the game, how difficult is it to create a balance between all the fighting styles, making sure one isn’t overly powered or another isn’t overly weak?
It’s definitely a tightrope that you have to walk, balancing the strikers versus the grapplers. Typically, the guys who are very dominant in their striking skills are lacking in other areas, or are not as effective in other areas. Chuck Liddell is a good example, he’s a great striker, but off his back he’s not very good, so my counter to that would be a good wrestler who can try to take him down and put him on his back and see what he can do. It’s been challenging to get the balance in there, but we’ve been able accomplish that I think, in this game specifically with the additions that we’ve made to the stats and working with the UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, I think players will see the fighters are balanced pretty well.
Pride fighters feature in UFC Undisputed 3, was them and their different rules like developing a whole new game in addition to UFC Undisputed 3?
Yeah, we always joked that it’s a game within a game because when you jump into pride it’s a completely different experience because you’re playing with different commentaries, different rules, different fighters, a different environment… The different moves were probably the most challenging, because getting the soccer kick in there, and the foot stomp, because it isn’t something we’ve had to do in the past.
Tell us about the new community created content sharing options for UFC Undisputed 3.
Yeah, actually that’s a new feature this year, we have this content sharing thing. Not only is it created fighters you can upload and download, but it’s also your created logos, so if you have any kind of tattoos you can create those and post those online, people can download and rate those, as well as our highlight reels, that’s a new feature. So you can upload and download those as well.
UFC Undisputed 3 has moved the series away from a yearly release cycle. How has that changed development and why was that decision made?
The switch in the development time just gave us more time to polish and tune the game as well as introduce new features and systems. It’s something that I think you’ll see in the product when you play, the polish that we were able to get done and the tuning, as it’s really substantial compared to the previous titles. I think moving forward that’s going to be the plan, we’ll do the two year cycle because it gives us more time to what we want to do.
Last year saw the release of UFC Fitness for Kinect, have you thought about somehow implementing Kinect controls into UFC Undisputed 3?
Maybe in the future we could do it for the training. I don’t know how you’d actually do it from character to character with Kinect because then it would just be grappling an invisible person on the floor!
Or multiplayer with a friend!
In that case I’d rather go out there and grapples for real rather do something with an invisible person or somebody for the game! But that might be something for the future, maybe for hitting mitts or something with Kinect, potentially.
How much input into UFC Undisputed 3 did you have from UFC fighters themselves?
We get a lot of “suggestions” I’ll say from fighters about their stats and move sets. I know “Rampage” Jackson has been asking for a head kick three games! I told him if he does a head kick in a fight then I’ll give him one in the game, but most the time people are pretty happy when they see their character in the game. Most of them are just blown away that they’re in the game and their visuals and tattoos are in there and they say it really looks like them. As far as how they play themselves, some of the fighters are big gamers so they get it, some of them aren’t so much so it varies, but most of the time I’d say it’s been positive.
There aren’t any aspiring game designers among the UFC fighters then!
Rampage has said once before that he could design the game for us and I’d like to have him come in and do it!
UFC Undisputed 3 is available from 17th February 2012 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Part 2 of The Train2Game Blog interview with THQ Senior Game Designer Wes Bunn is here.
For more about UFC Undisputed 3, and some great advice about getting into the industry, see The Train2Game Blog interview with UFC Undisputed 3 Neven Dravinski from last year’s Gamescom.