Fight Night Round 5 Wishlist: The Changes That Need To Be Made
It’s almost a given that EA will continue the “Fight Night” franchise, most likely indefinitely, and with every new game there had better be some improvements. “Round 4″ saw a great update to the career mode, but what will “Round 5″ hold? After some time with the game, here’s what I’m hoping to see next time around.
All in all, for as much as I enjoyed “Fight Night Round 4,” I think what it suffered from the most (much like my big issue with “Tiger Woods 10″) was the career mode lacks PERSONALITY. Why EA sports doesn’t use their exclusive ESPN license to its full capacity is beyond me, but I can think of a couple of incredible things they can add, to make the next effort that much more amazing.
“Fight Night Round 5″ had better have some kind of AMPED UP presentation in all areas of the game, but in the Legacy mode in particular. For example, Make the main hub an ESPN central zone, or maybe have a digital boxing show that talks about titles exchanging hands, up and coming fighters, and retired fighters. It’s “next generation,” you can do it EA! I want the Pay Per View events’ presentation to really stand out from my Friday Night Fights matches. Have cut scenes of George Foreman and Max Kellerman talking at ringside. Give me the tale of the tape (which “UFC” managed to include). Give me presentation of the whole card. Tell me about the undercard; who’s fighting, if they are up and coming. Include some cut scenes of movie stars in attendance, and maybe even a future challenger in street clothes who is watching your fight to scout you, or to be interviewed about an upcoming fight. Make “Round 5″ as much like a real life P.P.V. event as possible, something that someone would pay to watch.
The inclusion of 24/7 would also add greatly to presentation. Imagine you’re a top fighter defending the belt, and a week before the match there could be cut scenes 24/7-style; showing you training, having a bbq with your trainers and entourage, trainers talking trash ala Freddy Roach and Floyd Mayweather Senior. This would even add some personality to P.P.V. Fights, by showing a small clip of the 24/7 and a small trailer of the fight to pump up anticipation, even get the bad blood brewing. “Round 5″ should include press conferences, post fight interviews with the winner … even in a text format, much like “WWE Smackdown vs Raw” did before they added voice overs. Then, let the player select a path to take their fighter; let him respect his opponent or simply boast by being interviewed in the center of the ring after a big fight, with the ring crowded full of people, and being asked who they should fight next would be tremendous. Let the number one contender call out the champ, and, alternatively, you’re the champ, call out the other belt holders who have been ducking them. If the player has have all three belts, maybe the interviewer should ask them if they plan on moving up in weight to face the champion from the weight division up, and make all my my answers have an impact on my popularity. Let the player do interviews on ESPN Sportscenter about their upcoming fights, and give them the option of respecting their opponent, or predicting what round they get knocked out - all the while effecting your boxer’s public perception.
“Round 5″ should give all the fighters in the game a personality, much like “NBA 2K” does with their team chemistry system. This could be integrated to depict whether a CPU fighter will duck you, or take on whoever challenges them… will they be a Floyd Mayweather and only fight you if you bring in the big bucks via pay per view, or if they will be a Paul Williams and fight whoever, whenever, for a stick of gum.
While we’re adding things, throw in boxing managers while we’re at it, like Golden Boy and Top Rank, who manage a stable of fighters, negotiating contracts, and playing the evil Don King role “guiding” your career. Perhaps Bob Arum or someone like him would suggest you play out your career a certain way, and you are able to agree or disagree with them. Add trainers that I can hire like Freddy Roach, Evagelista Cotta, or Floyd Senior, and then give them training styles and personalities that would have them hyping up a fight. Even keep it real for some of the Spanish fighters having Spanish trainers, with a voice over interpreting in the corner like they do in real fights, where first you hear the Spanish, followed by audio of a translator saying things like “he says keep your hands up, use your jab, he cannot hit you, you are too fast.” Make it possible for retired fighters to start their own Promotion Company like Oscar De La Hoya did, perhaps create a new Franchise mode for that.
Give us back the ability to earn money for our fights, but this time make it mean something. If I’m a big fighter, let me negotiate my own splits for a fight. Perhaps now that computer controlled fighters have a personality, maybe make some only willing to take the fight if that fighter gets a 60-40 split, and 10% of the P.P.V. proceeds. Get real deep, and make it so that there’s a clause in the contract that calls for a rematch should they lose the belt, or if it is a close decision. Let’s be honest, there are many factors that prevent fights in real life. Model this mode after the free agent system in “Madden,” and have a list of fighters that are available for you to challenge. Then have another list of fighters that would like to fight you. When you click on their name, a picture of that fighter pops up, along with a set of notes on what it will take for the fight to happen. For example, If Mayweather retires for personal reasons other than age, and in that same calendar year I gain a belt and defend it twice, AND am named the pound-for-pound best fighter, perhaps he comes out of retirement to challenge me to a fight. However, in order for him to take the fight, I would need to agree to a 65-35 split, complete with a negotiating period that he could either decline or accept. Maybe if a fighter is managed by Bob Arum for example, he would negotiate for the fighter. There is so much that can be done.
Even more importantly, let that money that I win mean something. You don’t have to make trunks cost one million dollars, but let us use that money to buy better training equipment. Maybe save towards building a gym that you can customize like Freddy Roaches gym that Pacquiao trains at in L.A. You would get to name the gym; design it like create a school mode in “NCAA Football.” Maybe upload logos to EA SPORTS WORLD to put in the game. Then you can save up for better treadmills, speed bags and things like that. After that give players the option to buy mansions and cars, and make that influence your popularity, but also force the fighter to take higher paying fights because of their lavish lifestyle.
Include a robust create an entrance so I can make lavish entrances like Prince Naseem and be carried to the ring like a king, or let me choose my entourage on the way to the ring. You could model it after “WWE Smackdown vs Raw”’s create an entrance, and that would be a nice start. Let the player decide if they want to wear the hood up on their robe, or if they snarl on the way to the ring. Make the announcers comment on how intense I look on my way to the ring as the music blares and how this is one of the biggest fights of the year, and let their introduction include the fighters’ records. Include a database with first names so that the announcer can say both my first and last name. Do what it takes to get Michael Buffer, and if he wants too much money to be in the game, create a character name Bichael Muffer who’s enthusiastic about the fight and who says where you’re fighting out of, if you’re holding any belts, your professional record, etc. It’s the little things, like allowing me to wear a headband on the way to the ring like Felix Trinidad used to.
These are just jumbled ramblings from an avid video game boxing fan, and if EA can include even 5% of this list in “Fight Night Round 5″ it would make for the most immersed and potentially the best boxing experience ever created.