After revealing that it was the most played game mode in UFC 3, EA is going all-in on Career Mode in UFC 4. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the mode with Creative Director Brian Hayes and Producer Raman Bassi. Here are five key points that I pulled from that conversation that Career Mode enthusiasts will be excited to learn.
Even though Career Mode is an offline feature, players won’t be alone. From the very onset of your MMA career, Coach Davis will be there to help you along the path. He’ll find you at your very first amateur fight, then invite you to his gym to teach you the four fundamentals: boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, and wrestling. Coach Davis will then find you opponents that specialize in each of the four practices, giving players a chance to implement the lessons they just learned. In a nutshell, Coach Davis is there to give players a step-by-step onboarding of UFC 4 gameplay through a mode that EA knows players are spending the most time in.
Fighter Evolution is the process of gaining experience for your skills and moves by using them. Whether you’re in training or a real fight, you will earn experience to level up the skills you’re using. Throw that big overhand right constantly in training and in fights, and that move will level up and become more effective for you to use. This includes improving the speed and power of the animations for some core strikes. At level one, your jab might look slow and like it’s not connecting very hard, but at level five, that same punch will be complemented by a faster animation and a more powerful impact.
As players level up moves in UFC 4, they’ll gain Evolution Points. These points can be spent on attributes and to buy perks. Players can assign up to five perks at one time, but these are not available right out of the Career Mode gate. Players must unlock these perks before they can buy them with Evolution Points. Once unlocked, they offer a great way for players to fine-tune their fighters. A similar system exists in NHL 20, so if the perk system follows that model it will allow for players to get specific in the facets of MMA that they specialize in.
Fighter relationships are an interesting thing. Some fighters are friends, some enemies, some are friends and then become enemies. It’s a mess, but this dynamic is part of what makes MMA so amazing. Well, in UFC 4 you’ll be tasked with handling your relationships with the MMA world. Get on Khabib’s good side and maybe he’ll come to your camp and let you in on some of his grappling secrets but, piss him off, and throw that idea out the window. Players will have to balance relationships with fighters, fans, sparring partners, and promoters. Do someone dirty and you’ll have a rivalry on your hands.
There’s a big difference between a person’s actual age and their fighting age. For example, Max Holloway is about 50 years old in fighter years, but is only 28 when we talk traditional age. This is how longevity will work in UFC 4. If you minimize the damage you take, you can fight for a long time, but if you’re constantly in wars, taking huge amounts of damage and suffering injuries, your career could be over much sooner due to your longevity running out. In other words, your fighter age can progress too quickly if you're not careful. As you grow older, though, your longevity will begin to deplete much faster, which is exactly how it works in real life.
Those are five features that players can look forward to in UFC 4's Career Mode. Some are evolved from UFC 3, and some are brand new. Overall, though, Career Mode looks to be a winner in UFC 4, and I’ll include a full look at it in my UFC 4 review when the game hits PS4 and Xbox One on August 14. In the meantime, check out my preview of UFC 4 to hold you over.