SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican conducted an email interview with EA Sports UFC 5 Producer Raman Bassi about the process of determing the fighter ratings in the game.
Below is the transcript of the interview where Bassi discusses the process behind determining fighter ratings in indicudaul categories and how that translates to a star rating, how ratings are updated post-launch after each UFC event, what goes into someone getting 100 in a an individual category, and more!
Radican: What is the process you used to determine each fighters rating where you have individual categories that go up to 100 and then an overall rating out of five stars?
Bassi: First and foremost, our development team are all MMA fans through and through. Some members of our team have followed the sport for over 20 years, some have BJJ and Judo black belts, others are kickboxing specialists or have experience as high level athletes on our team. So our UFC development team takes a holistic approach, factoring in how these detailed fight stats influence the in-game experience and, more importantly, the way each fighter feels to players when the controller is in their hand.
To achieve this, we closely collaborate with our EA SPORTS UFC Design Council which consists of a diverse group of UFC, MMA and gaming enthusiasts that help inform every stage of the EA UFC 5’s development – authenticity, realism, aesthetics, overall gameplay and more. They actively participate in testing and fine-tuning our fighter roster through our community feedback test environments. We maintain an ongoing dialogue, holding weekly discussions to determine attribute upgrades, decreases or introduce moveset updates after notable events.
The 5 Star Rating is a combination of all the fighter attributes from the three main categories: Health, Grappling and Striking. We also look at the utilization and effectiveness of the fighter’s moveset which can impact the Star OVR of a fighter. In our game, not only does a 5-Star Fighter have very high attributes, but they have some very high move levels allowing them to have faster strike animations, turning takedowns, or better transitions (rubber guard) and submission setups which other fighters may not have.
Radican: Are there any similarities or difference between the process to determine the fighter ratings before launch and then post-launch after each UFC event?
Bassi: Everything changes at launch because everyone has their individual input on where certain attributes should be, including the fighters themselves; this is what makes our fighter rating updates so much fun. We update our attributes, records, moves, and perks after each PPV event from the fights that occurred in the previous month. So, it is up to the fighters and their performances to determine how big of a change they want to make to their own attributes and movesets. After each roster fighter performance, we get together to discuss the fights weekly and to align on if the fighter requires moveset, attribute or perk upgrades. We take a very democratic approach to our rating system and ensure everyone is heard –and the great thing about UFC is that changes happen very quickly and drastically. So, we update movesets, attributes, and perks after each PPV event and ensure players are playing the most up to date version of the active fighter roster.
Radican: What factors go into someone getting a 100 in a given category. They are definitely not easily given out from what I’ve seen in looking at the respective ratings of the fighters.
Bassi: We want to ensure 100 is kept for fighters who will be known forever as the best of the best in that specific attribute category. For example, our ‘UFC 101 Anderson Silva’ Alter Ego at Light Heavyweight from when he fought Forrest Griffin has 100 in Head Movement. If we go back in time, and witness Anderson Silva at that moment in his career, he was specifically known as one of the most ‘Matrix’ like fighters ever seen in combat sport history. When we look back now, with our current modern day knowledge of MMA, we might complain about the quality of his opponents that day, but we want to ensure we respect that version of Anderson Silva and make him feel like he did when you watched him in 2009. Our fans should be able to use Anderson Silva, who looked unbeatable and felt like he could see strikes coming, like he was out of a movie. The same is true for Derrick Lewis’ Power being at 100; we have never seen a fighter quite like him who has the ability to shut lights off with a single touch and be so good at it – he broke the UFC all-time record for most knockouts in the hardest hitting division. Fighters like this deserve the respect and admiration that comes with having a ‘100’ in EA SPORTS UFC 5.
Radican: Do the fighters ever complain about their overall star rating or individual ratings in different categories? How do you justify something like say someone getting a high 90s in a given category vs. 100 if they think they deserved it.
Bassi: Our team is always listening and watching; we hear fighters’ and fan feedback, but we also want to allow fighters to prove it in the Octagon. The best part of EA SPORTS UFC 5 is that attributes, moves and perks are updated monthly throughout our Live Service based on the most recent fights. If the stage is big, the moment arises, a fighter calls out his or her rating and they prove it in a fight, we will absolutely update them to their respective level that they think they deserve. We just need the proof. Additionally, we have a Design Council comprised of a collection of MMA enthusiasts, gameplay experts and credible faces of the sport such as Daniel Cormier. They help inform gameplay adjustments, such as fighter ratings, to help ensure we’re gathering as many appropriate in-points as necessary to ensure maximum authenticity.
Radican: Have you ever thought about doing something for the fighters that get five star ratings like Madden does with football players that get into the 99 ovr club? Maybe golden gloves?
Bassi: We’re exploring all the ways to best amplify the biggest names in the UFC. We have nothing specific to share at this time.
EA Sports UFC 5 is now available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.