Mixed Martial Arts might be the fastest growing sport in the world, but it's still a relatively young pup in the mainstream. As far as MMA videogames are concerned,
having two big publishers like THQ and EA Sports slogging it out in the ring already should probably encourage any other wannabe contender to sit it out.
In fact, if THQ's grip on the UFC names that made pummelling men popular in the first place caused a sporting giant like EA Sports to wither away in terms of sales, what chance does 505 Games have of breaking into the genre?
"Where other games have aimed to reproduce a television broadcast with simulation-based gameplay, Supremacy MMA goes in the opposite direction, focusing on the underground of MMA," developer Kung Fu Factory offers as a solution. "It's faster and closer in speed and style to Tekken and Virtua Fighter, compared to slower-paced MMA."
A more arcade approach from the off then, although the dev still insists this is a game as much for real martial arts fans as casual pick-up-and-play fighters. The fights themselves are geared towards accessible brutality, cutting back the fat, with a focus on striking "because it's the most fun". At the same time, however, Supremacy aims to pit different fighting disciplines against each other in "bear vs. shark" match-ups as it was back in the early years of the UFC. Whether its quick Tekken-style engine is sophisticated enough to really set Karate and Muay Thai apart is yet to be seen, though.
In the developer's own words, Supremacy MMA hasn't been "sanitised", with blood, violence and profanity being the order of the day. The backdrop is just as mucky, with bouts between underdogs ready to scrap anywhere taking place in bars and halls with a look that's more Fight Club than Friday Night Main Event: "The underground world we are depicting does exist" says Kung Fu Factory. "Maybe the MMA establishment would prefer you didn't know that - but it's the way it is. Every sport has its dark side."
Supremacy looks to pull away from the MMA giants by highlighting the seedy underbelly of the sport rather than the industry standard of flashing lights and supermodel girlfriends. A very different approach is necessary, but with generic fighters, it's going to need a spectacular engine either by way of simulation or silly amounts of fun to succeed.