Cageside Seats Exclusive: Interview with Supremacy MMA

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Take a look at the above photo.  Within seconds your emotions should be provoked, and "Supremacy MMA" will have caught your eye.  Supremacy MMA is an in your face, unapologetic take on mixed martial arts, coming to the video game world this summer.  Eyebrows WILL be raised.  I sought out the team behind the game to have some questions answered, and see if we couldn't get a further understanding of the ideals behind the game, as well as what they are looking to accomplish in the gaming world.

For those just hearing about Supremacy MMA in the MMA and gaming world, what is Supremacy MMA, and who are the men and women behind it?

Supremacy MMA is a videogame coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 this June. It is published by 505 Games and developed by us here at Kung Fu Factory. At Kung Fu Factory, we have a wealth experience in the mixed martial arts gaming space, with work ranging from the very first UFC game on Dreamcast and EliteXC (which became Strikeforce) to UFC Undisputed 2009. Having worked on MMA and hand-to-hand combat games for the better part of the last decade, Supremacy MMA represents the culmination of the team's desire to make the ultimate MMA game.

That said, the team's vision for the game is drastically different than any other MMA game to date, with the core focus being on fast, arcade-like gameplay, brutal over-the-top violence and an art and story style more akin to something like Grand Theft Auto than a broadcast style sports simulation.  We are definitely looking to do things differently.  

Supremacy MMA presents the sport of mixed martial arts in a fashion unlike any MMA game before it.  Why the decision to go the road less traveled, and explore the underground, unsanctioned aspect of MMA?

Well, you said it pretty much; there are already games out there that offer the broadcast style presentation you'd expect from a sports game. We're really not making a sports game with big stars and leagues to appease, but a game that follows the careers of fighters who aren't always in the spotlight. Some of these fighters are the guys scrapping to make a name for themselves in the places you have to cut your teeth in, quite literally, before you step one foot into a pro cage.

From the beginning of the project almost 2 years ago, it was important to us to take a more dramatic, cinematic approach to the game, partially because it's different, but more so because it's really fun and intense to play as these guys on the edge - we're not trying to make something that feels like you're watching TV - we're making something that we hope will make you not want to watch TV - you'll be having too much fun.  

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With MMA yet to be sanctioned in all 50 states of America, including New York, do you believe Supremacy MMA could be used as ammunition against the sport being legalized?  If not, do you believe that political figures, and the media would be able or willing to accept that the brutality and unsanctioned nature seen in Supremacy MMA is not what is seen in the sport of MMA itself?

You know, honestly, we don't really have an agenda in regards to the sanctioning or legalizing of anything. The game isn't about building awareness to underground fight clubs and leagues, though I'm sure it will. The legitimacy of a sport shouldn't be based on the content of a videogame.  Anyone who uses a videogame to either support or criticize a sport without watching the actual sport shouldn't be taken seriously anyways. We love MMA and believe it's a great sport that should be sanctioned and commend all the hard work people put into legitimizing it, and we'll continue to do our job which is make a good fun videogame and hopefully be commended for that.  

Our main concern has always been making a really fun, really intense MMA game, a game that's different than anything else out there. And it's not that we're not interested in those sides of MMA. We love MMA, and follow everything regarding the sport, both sanctioned and underground. We watch all the fights, we have Pay-Per-View parties, the whole gamut. As well, we have people on our staff who train and fight in various disciplines, so we take all of that very seriously. So again, our objective -  make an awesome game.  

Supremacy MMA comes across more "arcade combat" than "sports sim", is that an accurate description of Supremacy?  What makes the game play in Supremacy MMA different than other video games in the MMA market?

You are correct, it is more arcade in both its presentation and in its gameplay and control scheme. One of our main guiding pillars is fun factor, so we're always asking ourselves, "Is this fun?" We've found with many of the MMA games on the market, older and current, it takes a long time to get into the game and often players are faced with long, dull tutorials, all of which sort of kill the fun. Anything we identify as an enemy of fun we try and tweak, and if it can't be made fun, we kill it. The same thing goes for some of the tenants of more simmy aspects to MMA games. For instance, you'll never have to weigh-in anywhere in Supremacy MMA. Because... that's just not really that fun and becomes something most people want to skip after seeing it once. We know it happens it real life, and in real-life there's tension and it's a cool pre-fight moment, but it doesn't translate well to games. Same thing with over-complicated controls. In particular, we think players will really dig what we're doing with our ground game, which is an area that most MMA games have historically handled very poorly. 

Word recently came out that Supremacy MMA will feature both Jerome Le Banner and Jens Pulver, could you tell us how that came about, and what roles they'll play in the world of Supremacy MMA.

With our focus being more on telling the story of fighters and not really dealing with leagues, we wanted to partner with notable figures in the MMA pantheon, and Jens and Jerome represent the pinnacle of what we're all about. Totally different kinds of guys, they each have great stories to tell and are heroes in their own right. They will both be playable in the game and will be interwoven into the larger Supremacy MMA story. We'll be announcing more fighters as we get closer to the release of the game in June.

What can we expect to see in Supremacy MMA in regards to features such as Story/Career mode, Create-a-Fighter, Online Play, and Downloadable Content?

As I've alluded to already, our story mode will be unlike most sport games in that we're taking a more cinematic approach to the presentation. Think more Guy Ritchie, less ESPN. That said, we aren't focusing on a create-a-fighter mode as players will be getting invested in these characters, their fighting styles and strengths, and their movesets, more like people get attached to Blanka from Street Fighter or Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.

Yes, there will be awesome online play. We've built a matchmaking system from the ground up specifically to cater to players who want great, lag-free online action. And yes, we have a ton of plans for DLC, we'll be talking more about those as we get closer to launch in June.

Will we see any familiar fight promotions or clothing lines in Supremacy MMA?

Yes, we are working on our own line of Supremacy MMA related-products. Our first foray into this will be our Blood, Sweat and Fear line, which we should have more info on very soon.

We'll end with this, in MiddleEasy.com's preview of Supremacy MMA, there's a mention of something in the game that will "revolutionize MMA videogames", and goes on to equate this revolutionary aspect to do for MMA games what The Matrix did for the movie industry.  Care to fill us in?

We can't just yet, but know this: you ain't seen nothin yet. In the months to come, expect megaton announcements and lots of great news. And yes, more brutal action like our first leg breaking video.

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