When UFC Undisputed 2009 appeared, THQ new in an instant that they had a winner on their hands. The game was flying off of store shelves and they set it to make it a yearly franchise, much like other sports titles and indeed their own WWE franchise. However, UFC Undisputed 2010 didn't perform as expected, causing THQ to take stock of the situation. It lead to the third game having an extended development cycle, allowing Yuke's to refine the gameplay experience and add a lot more content in there too.
The biggest news for UFC Undisputed 3 is the addition of the Pride Fighting Championships, and everything that brings with it. This means there will be different rings, even more fighters and of course, different rules. For example, you will now be able to kick opponents in the head when they're on the floor. It will surely make for some rather messy KOs.
Further to this, two new weight classes will appear for the firs time: Featherweight and Bantamweight. It's unknown how many fighters will be in each of these classes, but THQ has revealed there will be over 150 fighters present in the final game.
This time around, aside from adding the Pride organisation, it seems as though they emphasis has been placed on making the game more accessible, but at the same time, making it still accommodating to UFC veterans. One example of this comes with ground transitions. The previous system used quarter circles and slightly larger quarter circles on the analog stick to determine the direction and nature of a transition. That system is still present, but an easier transition system has been added for players who aren't too familiar with it. Now, you'll be able to just press up or down on the analog stick and the AI will attempt to pick the best transition for you. With this, you concede your right to choose your transitions, but if you aren't really sure what's going on, it probably won't make much difference. It's just nice that they've found a way to make things less complicated, while not compromising for the hardcore players.
Yuke's has also spent time refining the submission system. Before, one of the biggest complaints was that it seemed too based on luck. There wasn't anything tangible that players could look at to determine why they tapped. Now, the submission system has been turned into a simplified game of cat and mouse. The more injured your fighter gets, the harder it is play the game, thus, you tap out.
Given the extended development period, the game will also feature new visuals and animations and there will be plenty of new moves thrown in there too, like the standing guillotine. Refinements have also been made to the career mode, with the removal of stat decay.
Although we didn't get to spend much time with UFC Undisputed 3, it's clear that Yuke's and THQ are taking this franchise very seriously. With all the extra content added in here, and small little features like the ability to TKO someone using leg kicks, it's hard to think anything else. They've gave Yuke's a longer time to work on the game and it shows - this is the real deal.
UFC Undisputed 3 is currently scheduled for a release in January 2012 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.