It’s been 18 months since Fight Night Champion was released.
It is the best boxing simulation available, but it isn’t perfect. A perfect simulation is likely a myth because each gamer is looking for a different experience.
But there are some improvements and additions that would appeal to most—if only at varying degrees.I’m not partial to a specific publisher, as the two biggest (EA Sports and 2K Sports) have done work in the past that would lead me to believe they are capable of doing the sport justice.
I forgive 2K Sports for the horrible, Venom Games’ developed Prizefighter and EA Sports for Fight Night Champion’s imperfections but still believe 2K and EA Sports could publish an awesome boxing game.
No matter who brings it to video game boxing fans, here are 10 things the game needs to shine brighter than previous gaming versions of the sport:
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
I’m not heavily into licenses and would sacrifice most big names for a huge array of customization options. But 'Money' is the exception.
Since he’s taking the perch as the most polarizing fighter in the world, he has yet to appear in a boxing video game.
The next boxing game made needs to have him included. His star-power would represent the most influential endorsement possible.
Photo Face Modeling For Create-a-Boxer
EA Sports uses the ever-improving Game Face technology. It is far more accurate now compared to where it was when Fight Night Champion was released. You can see an example of the awesome renders it creates for Madden 13 here at Operation Sports.
This is essential for a boxing title as a no publisher will be able to sign all of the fighters that gamers will want to use. If this is added it takes away the need to pay tons of fighters for their licenses.
Fighters like Mayweather carry a big price tag, but their inclusion is more impacting than others. I say pay the biggest names, but leave an awesome create-a-fighter suite to handle the rest.
Wide Variety of Hairstyles, Hair Lengths, Tattoos and Tattoo Placement
Authenticity is big for most gamers. If I create a boxer, I’d like to have the resources to make them look as much like the subject as possible.
The photo-generated face-mapping takes care of the mug, this aspect would handle some parts of the fighter’s creation from the neck down.
Wide Variety of Boxing Styles
There are more styles in the sport of boxing than what has been depicted in most boxing games.The shoulder-roll has been represented as a blocking technique, but it also needs to be accounted for as a offensive posture.
A better representation of Mike Tyson and Floyd Patterson’s peek-a-boo style would be awesome as well.
Make Reach Count More
Reach is a major part of boxing. But in many boxing video games—most recently Fight Night Champion—it isn’t as big of a factor as it should be.
Taller fighters with major reach like Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko don’t have the advantage they should with their length.
It shouldn’t be made as an unbeatable quality, but it needs to be more of a factor.
Add Some Rhyme and Reason To One-Punch KOs
This is something the Fight Night series has struggled with. One-punch KOs, or big shots that change the course of a fight are a part of boxing.
It adds an element of unpredictability and excitement. That said, it shouldn’t feel totally random. The collision detection must be on-point to accurately execute this aspect of gameplay.
A system that factors in punching power and chin-rating is the best approach. But there should also be a requirement for the type of punch, momentum and impact.
For a huge shot to change a fight the elements have to align correctly. The aforementioned factors should dictate what those elements are.
Story-lines in Career Modes
Fight Night Champion did an excellent job with this in Champion Mode, but it would be great to expound on that concept.
Giving each boxer in your career mode an identity would be great. As you play through your career mode you’ll also be made aware of other fighter’s drama.
For example, Madden 13 uses a mock Twitter feed to keep you up to date on NFL news in your Connected Careers. Something similar to keep track of the news in your career mode would be a great addition for a boxing game.
Pictured: The game's story mode tells the rise of fictional boxer Andre Bishop and some of the people that come in and out of his rise to the top. Fight Night Champion's story mode is different than its Legacy mode.
Allow Non-KO Fighters A Chance To Fight Their Fight
In Fight Night Champion it is difficult to win a fight by decision. Though the game gives a little more credence to the slick and elusive fighter than previous games, it’s still tough to win that way.
Part of the reason is because there isn’t a big enough disparity in foot speed. Some fighters have exceptional speed and movement, and that is part of what makes them difficult to hit.
Thus these fighters go the distance in a higher percentage of their fights, and in some instances they are very successful. No boxing game I’ve played has really allowed a non-slugger as much of a shot to fight his fight and win.
An Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode
The fact of the matter is not every gamer wants to have the tactical boxing match that could go 12 rounds easily.Some want to slug it out, and that’s it.The best way to accommodate both sets of boxing video game fans is to provide an arcade and simulation mode. This way, the fans that aren’t looking for a true-to-life recreation can engage in a beat-em up experience.
But the hardcore boxing fan that loves video games can have his or her realistic simulation. This can be attained by tweaking things like stamina and moderating the impact of the punches thrown.
I don’t think any of these things are impractical, but it could be a pipe dream that will never see the light of day. Hopefully, the next developer that decides to tackle the sport of boxing will take heed to these requests.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube , Facebook and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games.
Fight Night Champion Review