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Interview with Fight Night Producer Kudo Tsunoda
We appreciate the time taken by Kudo Tsunoda and Eric Moser to help us with this interview. Both have taken time out of their busy schedule in the week that Fight Night has been shipped.
TSJ: How would you persuade a gamer who is not normally a fan of boxing to purchase this game ?
[Kudo]: Fight Night 2004 is not just a game for boxing fans. One thing we focused on in the development of this year’s game is offering gamers skill based tactics they can master that will improve their ability to win fights during gameplay. Like any video game, you learn the things you need to do with your character to be successful. The control over your boxer offered via our Total Punch Control system is unprecedented. Fight Night 2004 offers more control over your character via the console controller than any type of game out there. With our Create a Boxer system you can build a character that looks just like you and step inside the ring. Fight Night 2004 gives you the gamer the best opportunity to actually be inside a video game. Plus, for anybody who loves sports games or multiplayer action, there is no better game than Fight Night. I have been working on the game for (18) months now and we still have some of the best fights here around the office. You know a game is fun when you have been playing it as long as I have and you still can’t wait to step inside the ring each day and fight!!! The trash talking is unreal!
TSJ: How much does the real life attributes of a fighter come into play when he steps in the ring with Fight Night? For instance can Lennox Lewis’s strong jab keep fighters at bay? Can Sugar Ray throw punches faster than most boxers?
[Kudo]: All of our boxer’s are modeled after their real life counter parts. Each has (8) attribute categories that affect the way a boxer fights and they way you need to fight to be successful. Like in real life, boxing in Fight Night 2004 is all about the matchups. You need to use the strengths and weaknesses of the boxers to your advantage. Besides different ratings, each boxer has different tactics and styles of boxing based on how they fight in real life.
TSJ: How does the boxer selection work? Since there is no Players Association does it cost more (to get the athletes in the game) than a sport that does have a Players Association?
[Kudo]: We were very successful and getting a good mix of current champions (like Roy Jones Jr.), legends (Muhammad Ali), and lessor known up and comers (Jermaine Taylor). While paying athletes to be in any of our products is not cheap, the toughest part of getting some of the boxers in the game was the logistics of tracking them down and getting contracts signed. Just like in boxing, where there are fights fans would love to see, just getting deals done is problematic. Many fighters once they go in to training can no longer be contacted. After a fight, they take prolonged vacations to recover which also makes them hard to track down. Somebody like Marco Antonio Barrera, who is in the game, just was hard to track down due to his schedule and finding out how to get a hold of him.
TSJ: There are a lot of legendary boxers included in Fight Night. Is it possible to recreate some of the historic fights like the "Thrilla in Manila"?
[Kudo]: With our large compliment of real life boxers, many of the classic fights of the last (40) years can be recreated within Fight Night 2004. Anything from way back like Robinson vs LaMotta all the way through recent classics like Gatti vs Ward, Wright vs Mosley or Jones Jr. vs Tarver. To me, it is also incredibly fun to create fights we all would have liked to have seen. Bernard Hopkins vs Sugar Ray Robinson always is a good fight.
TSJ: Fight Night Online has matches between fighters in the same weight class. Is there any way to cross boundaries and fight with fighters from different weight classes online?
[Kudo]: Our online experience is a blast. You can fight with a licensed boxer or you own created boxer in any of our (6) weight classes. You start at the bottom of the rankings and can fight your way up to win a title belt in any division you want. You can also cross boundaries and fight against different weight classes if you want. But these fights do not count towards your online rankings in any weight class. They are more like exhibition fights.
TSJ: How is punch damage handled in the game? Can a strong puncher knock down his opponent with a crisp clean punch or is it based on a power meter being emptied with a series of punches before a knockdown happens? Also how do body punches differ from shots to the head?
[Kudo]: Like most of the elements in Fight Night 2004 we modeled this after how punches work in real life boxing. Boxers can be knocked down either from a single powerful punch or from a series of punches that wear you down. Head punches are more damaging to a boxer’s immediate health then body punches. If your opponent is hurt and you need to knock them out now, go to the head. Body punches will wear your opponent down over the course of a fight. If your opponent has a big hand or foot speed advantage over you, they can use that to their advantage. By going to the body early in the fight, you can slow your opponent down over several rounds. Take away their advantages. This will enable you to start landing more punches in the later rounds. You can then switch to head shots and try and take them out!
TSJ: How do the online rankings work? Does weight division matter? Do knockouts help you get farther up the ranks?
[Kudo]: Only fights that occur between opponents of the same weight class will affect your ranking within that weight class. This prevents online cheating of boosting your ranking by fighting naturally inferior opponents. Your ranking is determined by your overall record, your recent record, the quality of your opponents, and the % of your fights you win by knockout.
TSJ: When going to a decision is the fight actually scored by 3 judges and do any fighters have an advantage when going to the score cards.
[Kudo]: Yup! All of our decisions are scored by (3) different judges. Each of the judges score fights by different criteria. Some look for total number of punches landed. Some give more weight to the amount of damage you are able to do to your opponent. Others will give a better score for the boxer who lands the higher percentage of punches, the more efficient boxer. Just like in real boxing, you never really know who is going to win a decision until the fight result is announced. It makes for some tense moments after a tough (12) round brawl waiting to see who is going to win.
TSJ: Does fight night have any hidden boxers to unlock?
[Kudo]: But of course! There are characters to unlock as well as other fun cheat modes you can use if you know the correct code to enter. Some are just plain hysterical!
TSJ: Can a human player have the trainer throw in the towel and vice versa for the CPU opponent?
[Kudo]: Any human controlled boxer can quit in the middle of the fight if they so desire. But for our CPU opponents, we let you finish them off with a crushing knockout no matter how hurt they get. We found this to be a lot more satisfying than to see your opponent is really hurt and then getting a message from the game saying the CPU fighter has quit.
TSJ: During the career mode, do other computer controlled boxers duke it out with one another...moving up and down in the rankings just as you do?
[Kudo]: We felt this was a really important element of the career mode. You boxer exists in a dynamic and constantly changing world, just like in real life. It is not a static rankings ladder. Other boxer’s fight each other. The rankings change. The title changes hands. Older boxers retire and new up and coming boxers enter the rankings. Once you win the title, you will get a constantly changing list of contenders to fight against. This keeps the game from getting boring once you win a title.
TSJ: Will online play have a 'belt-holder' which lower ranked players try to attain?
[Kudo]: Of course! Boxing is all about fighting for the title. [Eric]: Both the in-game leaderboards and those on the EASPORTSNation.com website will track the leaders in each weight class, and essentially paint a huge bull’s eye on the backs of the champs for everyone to challenge.
TSJ: Is it possible to change divisions in career mode with a created fighter like Roy Jones Jr. did?
[Kudo]: You can fight with any licensed boxer in any weight division but you cannot switch divisions during a single career.
TSJ: Will people who don't want to use the analog sticks still be able to play the game?
[Kudo]: yes, we have controller configurations that will allow gamers to use buttons for punching if you wish. But I have to say, the analog punch control feels sweet and is better for using the many defensive capabilities in the game.
TSJ: Is it possible to create your own venue?
[Kudo]: not currently, but may be possible in subsequent versions of the game.
TSJ: Is it possible that Mike Tyson may ever be 'in the game' in the future ?
[Kudo]: Just like in real boxing, anything is possible!
Get ready for the fight of your life as EA Sports returns to the world of boxing with Fight Night 2004. Built from the ground up to deliver all the drama and pageantry of a heavyweight title bout, Fight Night 2004 is the most authentic boxing experience to date, sporting a dramatic new-school attitude, a dynamic new cinematic approach, and revolutionary boxing gameplay.
* All-New Total Punch Control - Hammer the competition with this innovative new feature--the right analog stick becomes an intuitive extension of your fists, giving you total control of every punch. * Stick and Move - Use the analog sticks to bob and weave, block punches, and frustrate opponents by shutting down and countering their attacks. * Be the Ultimate Fighting Machine - Create a fighter who looks exactly like you in Career mode, and work your way from amateur to title contender to undisputed champion. * Customize Your Ring Entrance - Psych out your opponent, show your personality, and win over the crowd with your hand-chosen music, special effects, and entourage. * Knock 'em Out Online - Step into the online ring and go toe-to-toe against other top fighters to see how you stack up against the nation's best. PlayStation 2 only--Internet Connection, Network Adaptor, and Memory Card for the PlayStation 2 required for online play.
Publisher :EA Sports Developer : EA Sports Released : 04/05/2004 Game Type : BOXING