Fight Night remains one of this generation's best fighting series. The scores are high and the visuals a benchmark of what these consoles can produce. But this time EA wants to go higher - 90 per cent or higher. In order to achieve that, Peter Moore's men have dreamt up an entirely new and "groundbreaking" mode for Fight Night Champion. Something big must be afoot to warrant a name change from Fight Night Round 5. Eurogamer cornered gameplay producer Brian Hayes to find out more.
Eurogamer: Fight Night Champion isn't called Fight Night Round 5. Why is that?
Brian Hayes: There's myriad reasons: some will become more evident as time moves on. One of the obvious ones is that when they picked up the motif of naming it Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, championship prize fights don't normally go up to around 12, so we knew we were going to have to change it sooner or later if the games kept being successful. It was one of those things we knew had to happen sometime. We'd even thought about doing it for Round 4... It can start to drone on if it's the same name. Like Friday the 13th Part VII, you know, whoop-de-doo-daa. But Freddy versus Jason sounds really cool, right?
Eurogamer: There's no more significance to the name than that?
Brian Hayes: As I said, in months to come, there'll be some more revelations. It's also somewhat related to the new game mode.
Eurogamer: The Champion part of the title: that refers to the new game mode? An RPG-like mode?
Brian Hayes: Like I said, the only thing I'm at liberty to say right now is that there is something new. And as we've probably already said, it is something quite innovative, certainly for an EA Sports title or sports title in general. This approach to a single-player experience hasn't really been tackled. As far as any details, in terms of the design or the mechanics or what it's like, we're staying mum for now. That's the ways the pros do it. Duke [Indrasigamany - senior publicist] just came in and looked at me as if to say I've already said too much.
Eurogamer: It's intriguing! I want to know what it is!
Brian Hayes: [laughs]
Eurogamer: You've mentioned that Fight Night Champion will "break the mould" - does that specifically refer to this game mode or are there other areas you're breaking the mould of?
Brian Hayes: It's certainly one of the ways, but we're not a team that's happy to put all our eggs in one basket. The franchise itself has always been recognised for really pushing the bar graphically, and that's not something we're trying to rest on our laurels on. The game looked fantastic for Round 3, and then nobody thought it could look better for Round 4 but then it did. Probably people think it won't look any better than Round 4 this year, but it's going to. We're always trying to innovate and do things that are ground breaking and blow people's minds. It's one thing the franchise is noted for and we take that seriously.
The new game mode, yeah, that's part of the reason why it's going to be mould breaking and ground breaking, but we're definitely trying to push the bar in other areas as well.
Eurogamer: Are the graphics so good now that you could trick a slightly thick boxer into thinking the game was real?
Brian Hayes: Sorry, did you say slightly sick?
Eurogamer: Slightly thick.
Brian Hayes: You know, I guess it's possible. We've seen it in the past where people sometimes do double-takes when they're walking by the television and be like, "What is that? What fight is this?" Certainly, if we were going to get medical about it, if somebody with the beginning stages of pugilistic dementia might be more prone to falling victim to thinking it's actually a real fight.
Eurogamer: Someone like Ricky Hatton? He can't be very clever.
Brian Hayes: Oh come on, you can't have turned around on him that quickly. He only lost a fight!
Eurogamer: It was a big fight.
Brian Hayes: He would not be able to tell whether or not it was a real fight because he'd be looking at it through a pint glass [laughs].