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New Total Punch Control

Boxing video games have had lots of different types of control schemes. Some were innovative and ahead of their time.

I’ve been playing boxing video games since I was a kid. I’ve seen how the controls have changed from the fun simplicity of Mike Tyson’s Punchout to the lunging, leaning sideways chicken-wing punches in Fight Night Champion. A control scheme with too much complexity probably sunk EA’s Fight Night franchise a decade and a half ago, so it’s understandable why developers of new boxing video games would shy away from a next generation simulation style boxing game.

However, current interest in boxing video games is an indicator that a market for a realistic boxing sim has re-emerged. Or just maybe, it was always there in the first place.

The last boxing game to focus on sim controls, Fight Night Round 4, still boasts the most intricate movement system of any boxing game to date. Despite a 2009 release date, there’s stepping, leaning, weaving, pivoting, and their respective combinations in the EA boxing game. As it turned out, the problem with all those options was that the controls over all these movements were completely left up to inputs from the player.

If you think that sounds like a great problem to have, you and the developers of Fight Night Round 4 are all on the same page. But it turned out so much freedom demanded skill and practice in exchange for eventual mastery. Because of New Total Punch Control, players were required to practice before most could even throw a left hook.

Many refused and raised their voices in protest, the developers decided to placate their former audience by splitting their focus and developing two seperate control schemes; one for realism and the other for ease. It didn’t end well.

Do you think boxing video game developers should use original creativity, or crowd source all their process? Let us know in the comments

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