How EA recreated Mike Tyson in his prime for EA UFC 2

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Tyson (4)

When UFC was first broadcast, it was to answer one simple question: Which martial arts was the very best at turning another person’s face into something that resembled a Jackson Pollock bloodfart? Royce Gracie would answer that question with numerous extreme hug attacks that very first night, going on to clinch victory with Dr Boskonovitch tactics and become known as the very first UFC champion.

Since then, the idea of blattering someone within a steel cage has evolved into mixed martial arts, a system of grapples, takedowns and strikes that encompasses a wide variety of disciplines. But it’s still interesting to see how other fighters with a singular fighting focus do in the ring. It kind of also makes you wonder how certain legends in their prime would have dealt with MMA practtioners. People like Bruce Lee (who was in the first EA UFC game), Chuck Norris and of course, Mike Tyson.

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Listen, Mike Tyson in his prime was a walking Konami Code. Mike Tyson is what happens when you punch the laws of gravity into submission and for a long time was considered to be an actual incredible Hulk that the military had lost control of. Tyson’s in-ring prowess during his prime is the stuff of legends, as he used his Peek-a-Boo stance and devastating hooks to deliver extinction-level events to ribs and kidneys.

The Mike Tyson of today however, isn’t that kind of monster. Although I’d never tell that to his face, because he still scares me to a ridiculous extent. For EA UFC 2, that’s the Tyson that was wanted, a three-dimensional collection of muscles that only speaks one language: Pain. But with some MMA tweaks of course to complement his skillset. “Mike can’t do any takedowns, submissions or even kicks in the game,” Creative Director Brian Hayes said in a EA Sports Concept to Completion series blog post.

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He can move around on the ground or in the clinch, he can defend takedowns well, and his punches are absolutely devastating.

To bring Iron Mike into EA UFC 2, all new assets were needed, which meant that his data from the Fight Night series was scrapped in favour of a gallery from 1998 to recreate his in-ring terror.  “These were at a much lower resolution and, while recognizable, it proved not to be sufficient for 2016 standards. These assets would inform us but the build would be custom,” Character Art Director Ian Lloyd wrote.

His body was built using our proprietary BodyBuilder tool which enables us to create fighters with vastly different proportions and ensures scaling values, collision volumes and other systems all play nice together. When you step into the Octagon with Mike Tyson, you’ll feel his power. “A certain kind of confidence envelops you.

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The results are eerily uncanny, with Tyson looking the part when he enters the octagon. But you won’t just be able to punch your way out of any takedown because a) that’s not how fights work and b) you’re not the real Mike Tyson who could deliver a left hook that would annihilate point A and prove me wrong entirely.  “He was clearly blessed with physical gifts that made him the fearsome fighter he was, but if he doesn’t know how to sprawl or check a leg kick… even the hardest puncher can be in for a long night,” Hayes explained.

But to think about what it would be like if that explosive speed had been shown how to shoot for a double leg takedown, or throw kicks to the thigh with those powerful legs? It’s a very interesting hypothetical.

Last Updated: March 16, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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