Ever since THQ lifted the veil on UFC 2009 Undisputed last year, the game has been a beacon of hope for fans who've been looking for a fighting game that makes the most of the mixed martial arts craze. UFC 2009 isn't the first UFC game--the brand has been in videogames since the Dreamcast days--but, after some missteps on the PS2 and Xbox, it seems like the right time for UFC to make a comeback in videogames, just as the sport's real-life popularity is skyrocketing.
Recently THQ came by GameSpot HQ to show us an updated build of the game and, more importantly, give us the complete rundown of every fighter in the game. During the visit, THQ's general manager of product development-fighting Colin Mack sat down with our own Ryan MacDonald to get the full roster rundown and talk about some of the game's finer points. Check it out:
Here's the full roster for UFC 2009 Undisputed, with all the fighters organized by weight division. After that, you'll find a Q&A with THQ's senior creative manager John Edwards wherein he discusses the UFC 2009 Undisputed roster, how fighters were picked, and which fighters to look out for in the game.
LH: Fighter can switch to Light Heavyweight
MW: Fighter can switch to Middleweight
WW: Fighter can switch to Welterweight
LW: Fighter can switch to Lightweight
|Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira||Brock Lesnar|
|Frank Mir||Brandon Vera (LH)|
|Gabriel Gonzaga||Cain Velasquez|
|Cheick Kongo||Eddie Sanchez|
|Heath Herring||Andrei Arlovski|
|Mirko Crocop||Fabricio Werdum|
|Tim Sylvia||Mark Coleman|
|Antoni Hardonk||Justin McCully|
|Chuck Lidell||Quinton "Rampage" Jackson|
|Forrest Griffin||Tito Ortiz|
|Keith Jardine||Wanderlei Silva|
|Mauricio "Shogun" Rua||Lyoto Machida|
|Rashad Evans||Stephan Bonnar|
|James Irvin||Wilson Gouveia (MW)|
|Houston Alexander||Kazuhiro Nakamura|
|Thiago Silva||Tim Boetsch|
|Ryan Bader (DLC)|
|Anderson Silva (LH)||Rich Franklin (LH)|
|Dan Henderson (LH)||Michael Bisping (LH)|
|Kendall Grove||Chris Leben|
|Jason MacDonald||Nate Marquardt|
|Drew McFedries||Ricardo Almeida|
|Evan Tanner||Yushin Okami|
|Demian Maia||Martin Kampmann (WW)|
|Amir Sadollah (WW)||Thales Leites|
|Georges St-Pierre||Matt Hughes|
|Matt Sera (LW)||Jon Fitch|
|Karo Parisyan||Josh Koscheck|
|Diego Sanchez||Mike Swick (MW)|
|Marcus Davis||Thiago Alves|
|Chris Lytle||Ben Saunders|
|Josh Burkman||Kyle Bradley|
|Matt Arroyo||Anthony Johnson|
|BJ Penn (WW)||Sean Sherk (WW)|
|Kenny Florian||Roger Huerta|
|Joe Stevenson||Mac Danzig|
|Nathan Diaz||Spencer Fisher|
|Tyson Griffin||Gray Maynard|
|Thiago Tavares||Joe Lauzon|
|Rich Clementi||Mark Bocek|
|Hermes Franca||Frank Edgar|
Efrain Escudero (DLC)
UFC 2009 Undisputed Roster Q&A with THQ senior creative manager, John Edwards:
GameSpot: Your just-announced roster for UFC 2009 Undisputed features more than 80 fighters, which is obviously a massive list. Can you take us through the process of choosing who made it in to the game and who got left off?
John Edwards: Who and who did not make it onto the final roster for UFC 2009 Undisputed was a collaborative effort between the development team here at THQ and the UFC. One of the best parts about working on this project is the great relationship we have forged with Dana White, Joe Silva, Don Gold and everyone else over at the UFC. Being able to draw upon their knowledge of who was going to be joining or leaving the UFC in the future, or who the new exciting prospects were before anything had been announced to the public, allowed us to create not only a roster of who we personally wanted to see as fans, but also represent who would be the most relevant by the time the game was released.
GS: Obviously, you have some household names on the list--heavyweights like Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, along with other well-known stars like Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, and Tito Ortiz. Who are some of the up-and-comers or lesser-known fighters that you're excited about on the roster?
JE: We have a great batch of fighters like Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn who are hot today, but we felt it was equally important to feature fighters who we think will be hot tomorrow. We worked closely with the UFC's own resident matchmaker, Joe Silva, to make this happen. Fighters like Cain Velasquez, Wilson Gouveia, Demian Maia, Anthony Johnson and Gray Maynard immediately come to mind as lesser known fighters in the game who we think will make big waves in the UFC of the future.
GS: Your fighters are split into five different weight divisions in the game. How will those different weight classes "feel" to someone who plays the game?
JE: The differences are pretty much what fans would expect. Lightweights are in general faster than Welterweights, and Heavyweights are stronger than Light Heavyweights, and so on. This comes through in the game in some important ways; however, that can change strategies depending on the weight class. Heavyweight bouts are definitely more prone to ending in quick knockouts, for example, so while getting knocked out cold is something a player should be aware of in any division, it is way more of a factor when fighting against Brock Lesnar in the Heavyweight division.
GS: How do your fighter ratings work? What attributes does each fighter have? Can attributes change over time?
JE: Fighter ratings are based on an average of all of a fighter's Attributes (Strength, Speed and Cardio) and Fighter Skills (which reflect things like Standing Striking Offense or Submission Defense). Higher overall ratings generally reflect a fighter who is dominant and extremely versatile, exhibiting no major weaknesses.
While a fighter's ratings definitely play into the outcome of a match, player skill represents a much greater factor overall. The game is after all a game, and not a number crunching simulation. It wouldn't be very much fun if there were matchups that were completely unwinnable based on a fighter's Attributes or Fighter Skills, would it? Having said that, Attributes and Fighter Skills are still a very important aspect to the gameplay and ones that make every match play out a little differently from a strategic standpoint by allowing players to craft game plans around a fighter's strengths or weaknesses.
Official UFC fighters are meant to be representations of their real life counterparts, so their attributes are not modifiable.
GS: Some fighters can switch weight classes—for example, Anderson Silva who can go from Middleweight up to Light Heavyweight. How does that work in the game and how does that change the fighter's abilities/attributes?
JE: Fighters who move up in class may exhibit changes in their core Attributes (Strength, Speed or Cardio). Fighters' attributes are relative to the division they are fighting in, so moving up a weight class will generally be reflected with a slightly reduced Strength rating or lower overall Speed due to carrying a little extra muscle or some excess "baggage."
GS: For a UFC beginner, who would you suggest to start with on the roster? Conversely, which fighter(s) do you think caters to an experienced gamer?
JE: Each fighter is directly reflective of his real life counterpart, so for beginners, it is usually beneficial to choose a fighter with a high overall rating. This usually translates in-game to a fighter being well-rounded or being exceptionally gifted in a few critical statistics, which makes it easier for a beginner to succeed as they can concentrate more on all facets of the game and not be overly concerned with any particular deficit. Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, BJ Penn, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson … these are all very beginner-friendly fighters.
Some fighters have unique techniques available only to them that also can facilitate a beginner being better able to compete. Anderson Silva, for example, can pull opponents directly into a Muay Thai clinch by countering a high punch, which is a very powerful technique.
GS: Thanks, John.