In-game action from Kung Fu Factory’s “Supremacy MMA” video game.


Daryl Pitts, president and co-founder of Los Angeles-based game design studio Kung Fu Factory, recently spoke with Sherdog.com about his company’s MMA video game release, “MMA Supremacy.” Rated “M” for blood, violence, partial nudity and strong language, the game was released on Sept. 23 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Pitts: “Supremacy MMA” is a no-holds-barred mixed martial arts fighting game. Unlike the other big guys, since we’re not based on any official organization, we instead tell our own fictionalized stories of the lives of our underground, bareknuckle fighters.

Pitts: Our team previously had experience working on games such as “UFC: Undisputed” and “Mortal Kombat,” so we brainstormed on ways we could combine our love of MMA and the over-the-top silliness of “Mortal Kombat.” “Supremacy MMA” is the result.

Pitts: The game which is closest to ours is “Ga-Rou-Den: Break Blow.” Many people in the U.S. don’t know that game, but it was a fun, arcade-style martial arts game which came out in Japan a few years ago for the PlayStation 2. A couple of our guys worked on that game, so that was probably our largest influence. In terms of visuals, we targeted feature films such as “Se7en” as our goal, so our character models and environment renders are not “video gamey” and are more realistic in terms of textures, lighting and shadows.

Pitts: Of course, we are fighting game fans. And we are also huge MMA fans, so we watch and attend everything we can. Personally, I like unorthodox fighters like Lyoto Machida, and in the old days, I loved [Kazushi] Sakuraba. As a fan, it’s really exciting to watch guys try to take risks and to utilize different styles, like karate and pro-wrestling moves, in the cage. Recently, I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction out of watching the lighter weight classes in Bellator. The smaller guys are pretty flexible and have excellent cardio ... so it makes for more exciting, dynamic fights. We also go to local King of the Cage fights when they are in the LA area. These guys have such passion. We love their energy. Fictional fighters? My favorite is Voldo from “Soul Calibur.” Everyone hates him because he sucks at strikes and he’s so creepy looking and so unorthodox, but I love to dazzle my friends with his surprise, awesome throws and countering ability!

Pitts: To be honest, there was a worry but not a real concern. The sport has so much momentum right now; it’s more successful than ever. We’re confident that people can make the distinction between reality and the fantasy of a video game. My friends and family are all crazy for MMA, and whenever Dream or Bellator or Strikeforce are on cable, they are glued to the screen and captivated by the action. When UFC goes on Fox, the popularity of MMA will really explode, since even casual fans will be able to see it.

Pitts: It’s what we expected after our focus groups. People either love our game or they hate it. Hardcore gamers who were expecting a real-life simulation like “UFC: Undisputed” or “EA Sports MMA” are disappointed, but casual fans appreciate what we’ve done. They understand what we were going for. They especially like the storytelling and the focus on the fighters’ lives ... and the differentiation we made between the fighter styles. Muay Thai is very different from karate, which is very different from wrestling, etc.

Pitts: The one big thing I wish we could add is more of an in-depth tutorial/training mode. From the feedback we’re getting, players who spend the time to learn our combat system and leverage the difference between the fighter styles are more satisfied with our game. We’re an independent studio, and since our development team was literally just a fraction of the size of the big studios in terms of resources, we had to carefully select areas to focus effort. Unfortunately, the tutorial/training areas got simplified. However, we have some nice surprises in store for our fans in our forthcoming PlayStation Vita version coming out early [next] year. Stay tuned for details.

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