EA’s decision to include Bruce Lee as a playable character in its new UFC title has raised some questions. In defending the choice, EA cited a quote from UFC President Dana White called Lee the “godfather of MMA.” In 1973’s “Enter the Dragon,” Lee is shown wearing fingerless gloves and defeating an opponent with an armbar. He was ahead of his time in so many ways. The publisher used this famous interview as part of its EA Sports UFC demo at E3 2014:
Players can unlock Lee by making it to the Hall of Fame in career mode, or by pre-ordering the game. He can fight in four different weight classes: bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight. Designers wanted the legend to be able to take as many current superstars as possible.
Numerous games have Lee inspired characters such as Street Fighter’s Fei Long. They tend to fight with the more showy style that you would see in a martial arts movie. This version is all business. EA tried to imagine how the creator of Jeet Kune Do would fight in the octagon. His punches are thrown in a straight, efficient line. He’s not helpless on the ground, but prefers to be standing upright to take advantage of his great speed and footwork.
The UFC games were a surprise hit for THQ, but the publisher had to sell the lucrative license to EA as it fought bankruptcy. Ironically, UFC President Dana White had pitched the possibility of a game to EA and been told it wasn’t a sport. Funny how things change. EA has backburnered its Fight Night boxing series, as UFC has passed boxing in popularity. CEO Andrew Wilson has hinted that EA Sports UFC may be an every other year type of franchise. That was a conclusion THQ had also reached. EA Sports UFC arrives June 17 on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.