After traversing through the labyrinth of nuttiness in West Hollywood and the copious amounts of unobtainable chicks wandering through Beverly Hills, I finally arrived at the 'Kung Fu Factory' studio to finally see what this Supremacy MMA game is about. When I walked in the office, the receptionist knew who I was and asked if I wanted coffee or tea. Being the incomprehensible dufus that I am when thrown in unfamiliar social situations, I told her that 'I already ate'. Yes, that made no sense, but by the time she realized, it didn't matter. Daryl Pitts, the president of Kung Fu Factory, walked out of his office and introduced himself. We walked into the meeting room which was surrounded by full-sized Fatheads of UFC fighters, specifically one of Brock Lesnar that has the power to intimidate every roach from my kitchen to hell, where they all belong.
Daryl stepped into his office to get some device, and then he loaded up a full Supremacy MMA presentation on the giant HDTV that's affixed to the wall of their meeting room. Despite me having the attention span of a warm jar of mayonnaise, I managed to retain as much information about the presentation as possible, and the pitch opened up with a screen that essentially stated how Supremacy MMA is different from any other MMA game. The company uses the fact that since they are not tied with any MMA organization (as of yet) they have 100% creative freedom on how they want to express their style of MMA. The tagline 'mature and proud' resonated throughout the introduction of the presentation, and they made it a point that Supremacy MMA will depict the seedy underground of the mixed martial arts world. I was introduced to some of the crew of Supremacy MMA's previous work which included Scarface, Mortal Kombat Armageddon, the first UFC game for Dreamcast, and a few other games that I was thoroughly impressed with at the time, but can't recall at the moment. I was also informed that EliteXC was in the process of making an MMA videogame and that a few guys working on Supremacy MMA were involved in the project. Of course, the game sort of fell apart when Seth Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo Slice, but the fact that Gary Shaw was in the process of launching an EliteXC videogame is staggering to say the least. This also means that somewhere in Southern California exists footage of an unfinished EliteXC videogame, and someone out there needs to find it.
After showing off a few comparisons of concept art versus actual screen shots (which looked pretty damn accurate, actually), it was nearly time to see the new trailer of Supremacy MMA -- but just before that went down, I interrupted Daryl and posed the question that most of you wanted to ask: 'With MMA struggling to gain legitimacy in the sports world, do you feel that creating a game with strippers dancing on poles and cock-fighting in the background may hamper this initiative?'. Daryl told me that he didn't believe that the world depicted in Supremacy MMA would set the sport back in anyway, and that while most MMA games focus on the professional level of the sport, Supremacy MMA will be a heavily story-driven game that will depict the journey that 85% of most MMA fighters go through, including fighting in exotic locations like barns, nightclubs, backyards, bars and prisons (well, that one may be a little far-fetched, but they did have an in-game screenshot of the location). Daryl also brought up the point that the game will take place in a mostly unsanctioned manner, and even brought up the fact that in New York, MMA is still not sanctioned, yet that hasn't prevented people from fighting inside a cage. He even had a picture in his presentation to prove it. Fair play.
On to the never-before-seen trailer, the same one he showed me in Los Angeles on January 11th 2011.
Yes, that was a friggin' guy rolling around in excruciating pain from a broken leg. This game has blood, lots of blood. Enough until you wonder if the human cardiovascular system is even capable of retaining the amount lost on the floor. Daryl then announced that Jerome Le Banner (we already broke this news to you) and Jens Pulver will be in the game as a fighter, and that you can select his 'storyline' which will be remarkably similar to Lil' Evil's actual historical storyline before he joined with the UFC (even before he was fighting guys like Joe Stevenson in the 'Bas Rutten Invitational'). A clip from Jens Pulver's 'Driven' documentary was then played, followed by a clip of Jens Pulver visiting the Kung Fu Factory studio, playing the game and telling us exactly what he likes about the game. In the clip, Jens says that Supremacy MMA shows what 85% of real fighters go through before they even get a shot at the 'big time shows' and that there is finally a way in which these stories can be told. Another slide came up stating why Jens Pulver is a perfect fit for the game, one bullet-point was that he's a huge gamer. We already know that, let's face it, the dude ruined the end of Red Dead Redemption for me.
It was clear that Supremacy MMA was constructed to represent a throw-back to the days of MMA in which one fighting style would go up against another style, UFC 1 style. Daryl mentioned that with most MMA games on the market, each character has a plethora of moves and it's virtually impossible to distinguish which discipline the fighter originated from. With Supremacy MMA, you will literally have -- a catch wrestler going up against a kickboxer, and the players will evaluate who has the better style. I'm assuming that this means that not everyone can pull off a submission from the bottom, and that with most stand-up disciplines, when one goes to their back, the main focus would be not only to defend, but to get back on their feet. Another video was shown that depicted two expert grapplers going at it and the chain of seamless animations that accompanied their actions. Definitely one of the more impressive parts of the presentation.
We talked about the video for a while and I went on to mention that judging from the violence in the trailer and the association of mixed martial arts, a lot of people are going to have problem with this game. Silly me, it was only until when I saw the game played for the first time (on a Sony Playstation 3 developer console, nonetheless) that I realized that this game is going to make headlines in a lot of conservative republican media outlets. Daryl snapped his fingers and summoned two developers in the conference room, both of which looked like a unique combination of the guy I used to copy my Algebra homework off of in 10th grade. They fired up the Playstation 3 console, and scrolled through the heavily stylized menus and character selection screen of Supremacy MMA. The first match was a submission wrestler going up against an expert judoka, Josh Barnett vs. Hidehiko Yoshida style. The screen changes, the camera pans to each fighter showing rather impressive detail on each character model, and the fight begins.
My god this MMA fighting. As the fighters started smashing the humanity out of each other via pin-point accurate right hooks and upper-cuts, I think the first thing thing that came out of my mouth was 'this is the game that Alex Burgess and his crew from A Clockwork Orange would play to sharpen up and make them ready for a bit of the 'old ultra-violence', screw the Korova milkbar'. Supremacy MMA is the most violent incarnation of MMA to ever be manifested on a videogame console. Granted, the developers told me that the damage levels were amped up to depict the various levels of pain that can be illustrated on the fighter, but regardless -- this is borderline Mortal Kombat stuff.
In fact, the game plays a lot like an old-school arcade coin-op. The action is lighting fast (far faster than any other modern MMA game that has been developed) and when heavy strikes and combos land, text is flashed on the screen, serving as your own in-game hype-man (think old-school Killer Instinct, 'Ultra Combo' stuff). The ground game is quick, responsive and the damage shown of the fighters is beyond graphic. Towards the end of the first fight, the judoka managed to throw a right jab directly in the face of the submission wrestler's skull to finish the fight. Yes people, there are finishing moves in this game, reminiscent of Mortal Kombat (just short of cranium decapitations). However, throughout all of this, the spirit of mixed martial arts is preserved. It's more of a combative sport than an arcade fighting game. There are no hadokens or tiger upper-cuts. Underneath all the carnage and incredibly ultra-violent nature of Supremacy MMA exists the fundamental mechanics of MMA including transitions to the muay thai plum, placing overhand and underhand hooks on your opponent along with what appeared to be a very intricate set of ground mechanics. Surprising, I know.
The HUD hovered above each fighter and consisted of an anatomical representation of your fighter which showed the parts of the body in which damage was sustained. A fully healthy body was green, the more damage you took to a certain area, the body would fade from green to yellow and eventually black-out. I'm assuming that once a part of the body is 'blacked out', the other fighter can execute a finishing move (don't worry, I'll tell you about the one finishing move that literally made me drop my phone in disbelief). Each fighter also has as an arcade-style health level meter that will not replenish like the ones in EA Sports MMA. Once your level is depleted, the fight is over, a videogame mechanic that if you played Street Fighter 2, you're used to. I'm assuming that once a player's health approaches zero, the opposite player can also perform a finishing move. There is also an 'AP meter' in the game that will fill up throughout the fight for landing heavy strikes and stringing together combinations. I tried to get Daryl to disclose information as to what would happen once the AP reaches it's max, but he was pretty tight-lipped about it.
Another bout was selected which pitted two karate guys against each other. While the match was taking place, Daryl told me that Supremacy MMA plans to launch their own clothing line called 'Blood, Sweat and Fears' which will drop at roughly the same time as Supremacy MMA, which he told me was in the Quarter II of 2011 (but we later discovered the exact launch date was May 3rd 2011). The clothing line will also be featured in the game. I asked if the game would also feature lines of pre-existing clothing companies, and the answer given to me was along the lines of a resounding 'Egh, sure'. Our conversation was abruptly cut short when one of the developers playing the game told the other developer 'Let's do the face stomp finishing move'. Face stomp? Screw Pride FC rules. Supremacy MMA apparently takes place in a world where humans can sustain a remarkable amount of damage without body parts completely being severed. As one character fell to the ground face first, the other character 'leaped-frogged' over him, high into the air in ultra-slow motion and landed heel first in the back of his opponent's head. As the pressure of his body weight exerted on his opponent's head/neck area, you can hear bones crackling, capillaries bursting and blood being 'smushed' away from his brain. Look, with the limitations of the English language to describe what we see in our universe, that's the best I can do. You're going to need to see this one for yourself, trust me.
That was the end of the preview, unfortunately I couldn't get my hands on the game nor could I take pictures/video of the game being played. I spent a few minutes with Daryl talking about the key demographic for the game (to which he said he anticipates over half of the sales of Supremacy MMA will be in Europe, specifically France and the UK).
During the preview of the game, there was one thing that I witnessed in Supremacy MMA that will revolutionize MMA videogames. It would literally do for MMA videogames what The Matrix did for the movie industry. Unfortunately, I wasn't supposed to see it, therefore I'm under a non-disclosure agreement. Bummer.
Below is a potpourri of never-before-seen screen shots of Supremacy MMA that I've placed on MiddleEasy for your enjoyment. One other thing that you guys may find jaw-dropping. Supremacy MMA will have downloadable content, with new characters added to the roster. I took the time out to explain the legend of Dan Quinn to the developers and insisted that he should be in the game. Needless to say, they were very receptive.
If you have any questions about the game, just leave a comment and I'll try to answer it as best as I can.