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THQ Announces New Motion Controlled UFC Trainer Video Game, First Undisputed-EA MMA Comparisons

The week didn’t start well for THQ at E3 in Los Angeles. They were forced to admit that UFC Undisputed 2010 didn’t sell quite as well as they expected (believed to be about 1 million units shy of their target), and their competition, EA Sports MMA, came out guns a blazin’ with their big announcement of a promising new online mode called “Live Broadcast.”

Turns out it wasn’t all doom and gloom for THQ and the UFC this week though. They had a surprise announcement of their own that just so happens to take full advantage of Sony and Microsoft’s new motion control technology. No, it’s not a version of UFC Undisputed controlled by your body movements, but it will get you off the couch and throwing punches and kicks. The new title is called UFC Trainer and the plan is to bring mixed martial arts training into your living room UFC-style.

Set for release January 1, 2011, UFC Trainer will be a more combative take on the fitness genre than the likes of Wii Fit or EA Sports Active. The game will be released for the Xbox 360 Kinect, the PlayStation 3 Move, and the Wii. THQ’s executive vice president of core gaming Danny Bilson apologized to analysts for the game’s absence from THQ’s E3 presence, but said the publisher doesn’t want to show it off until it’s the best training game on the market.

“We want this thing tuned to perfection without lag,” Bilson said. “And I’m not going to ship it until it’s the coolest fighting thing in the world.”

If THQ is able to provide a series of fun, but serious workouts for those who would like to incorporate a little MMA training into their workouts but don’t have the time or money to workout at their local MMA gyms, I could see a UFC fitness game being mildly successful.

The downside is PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will have to shell out an extra $100-$150 for Sony Move and Microsoft Kinect to play it. I imagine that will be a deal breaker for a lot of folks.

Moving on, the EA Sports MMA team is finally starting to lift the hood off their game, and for the first time, comparisons are being made between EA Sports MMA and UFC Undisputed.

Clearly, there are similarities between this game and THQ’s UFC Undisputed series, but if you haven’t been following the game’s progress since it was announced you might be surprised how few and far between those similarities are.

Elsewhere, the controls are equally intuitive and, at least based on what we played of the game today, they make for much faster-paced combat than is typical in UFC Undisputed games. That’s not to say that this combat is necessarily more realistic, but it’s certainly more fluid because the controls make it easier for one move to flow straight into another. Fighters also move around the ring more quickly than their UFC Undisputed counterparts–at least until their legs get beaten up.

I, like you, have only seen video of the game in the action, but based upon what I’m reading and seeing, EA Sports MMA seems to have more an arcade like feel to it with a flashier presentation and simpler controls than Undisputed. It will be interesting to see which gamers prefer.

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