By Chris Matel, GamersHell
Today we had the opportunity to hear more about 2K Sport’s Don King Presents: Prizefighter. Joining in on a conference call with various media outlets were Mathew Seymour, executive producer for 2K Games, former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, and the indelible, enigmatic and eccentric promoter himself, Mr. Don King—the man’s vernacular and presentation are unrivaled, no?
Though it was an experience to simply listen to the hype-machine that is Mr. King’s rhetoric, there wasn’t much meat behind his words when talking about the substance of the game. What he was able to offer, however, was a glimpse of what we can expect from Prizefighter. According to Seymour (and King), the Venom Games group, comprised of former Rage Software members and the ones behind Rocky and Rocky Legends, has put together something that brings gamers into the boxing lifestyle through, as King put it, “emulation and imitation.”
After a few long-winded answers by the promoter, and some entertaining-yet-uninformative commentary by the former heavyweight champ—Holmes, the soon-to-be hall of famer, hasn’t played the game, but trusts that the players will battle over who gets to play as him—Seymour continued to enlighten us on the features to be included for both career and online play.
Playing out as a pseudo-documentary, the single player game is purported to last about 15 hours. For that time, you assume the roll of an up-and-coming boxer where your goal isn’t just to be Number One, but to be the wealthiest and most revered athlete in the media as well.
Shooting for the best win-loss record isn’t the only purpose of the game, as Seymour hinted at the “distraction” system implemented to distinguish Prizefighter from competitors, and to “keep it real” for the boxing culture. Apparently everything in and outside of the ring integrates into one big feedback loop: You move up the ranks to win a hot date; get media attention with your dates to gain more fans during fights; the more fans you have, the more adrenaline you have during fights; and more adrenaline during fights means more, bigger signature punches.
Along with the career aspect of the game, there’s also exhibition play and offline multiplayer. There will be 40 boxers to choose from across the various weight classes, 10 of them being classic fighters such as Sugar Ray and Marciano. The goal of the game was to keep it contemporary, so most of the fighters will be of this generation.
2K has also secured some prime personalities to help with the game, to add to the authentic feeling they’re shooting for. The team was able to secure Jim Lampley and Emanuel Stewart for color commentary, along with major boxing licenses (advertisements).
What Seymour wanted to highlight, was the quick action that’s meant to differentiate the game from other competitors in the genre. For 2K, and King, the point of boxing isn’t in the slow-motion brutality showcased in EA’s Fight Night, but quick, furious movement. However, they aren't sacraficing any of the implications associated with fighting. Blood, face deformation and bruising will be included in the game, but the focus is on the strategy, timing and skill. He further went on to say that the upcoming Facebreaker didn't concern 2K with any fear of competition: "With all due respect, it isn't a boxing game, it's a hybrid with elements of fighting."
The group also touched on multiplayer aspects for, in King’s words, “the information highway” (Xbox Live). You’ll be able to keep a boxing stable of 5 different-classed fighters, and choose when and who you fight. Global rankings will not only be determined by wins and losses, but a formula derived from the specific details of your opponents. Also, similar to the offline multiplayer offerings, is an eight-player Fighters Club to go along with an eight-player, single-elimination tournament (with its own leader board).
Don King Presents: Prizefighter is scheduled to release next week in the U.S. for the Xbox 360 (this coming Fall for the Wii and DS), and sets out to offer a new take on the boxing genre. The team’s goal is to bring the “dramatic” experience of a boxing career to life, complete with outside-of-the-ring temptations and a documentary feel.
Check back for a full review to see if this boxing title lives up the “spectaculosity” of 2K and King’s claims.