Fight Night: How Popular Boxing Game Can Make Its Long-Awaited Return to PS5 and Xbox Series X
When official details emerged about the end-of-year releases of Sony and Microsoft’s next generation of consoles, it didn’t take long for the boxing community to enquire about a new Fight Night game. After all, it’s been nine long years since the most recent installment of the popular franchise.
When EA included in their annual financial report an “unannounced EA Sports title” to be released in 2021, Fight Night fans soon built their hopes up that a new game would finally land having been deprived of the PS4.
It may prove a hasty jump to conclusions, but influential boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has repeatedly said he is pushing for talks with EA about a Fight Night release. Given the revival of boxing’s popularity, a whole new audience of gamers, and the enduring fondness of Fight Night, it would seem logical for a new game to be launched on the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
So, with that in mind, here is a guide to what a new Fight Night game could look like and features fans will want.
What consoles would Fight Night be available on?
Sony and Microsoft will look set to engage in their latest battle for gaming supremacy when the PS5 and Xbox Series X get released at the end of the year. While no official date has been set by either company, it is thought to be late November, early December – in time for the holidays.
Therefore, if Fight Night proves to be EA Sports’ “unannounced title” for 2021, then it would be released on both new consoles – just like Fight Night Champion, the most recent edition, was available on both PS3 and Xbox 360.
Fight Night Champion was also released on iOS, allowing iPhone users to get in on the action. In the years since mobile-focused services have expanded greatly – from food delivery apps and mobile banking to mobile-friendly e-commerce. It is therefore highly likely that any launch of a new Fight Night game will also be made available for iOS and Android devices.
Which fighters will be included?
Fight Night Champion was stacked with all-time greats, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Sugar Ray Leonard. Expect the same offering of legends in a new Fight Night game, but to appeal to the current generation of boxing fans, there will likely be the addition of current stars of the sport.
Heavyweight champions like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Deontay Wilder; the pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez; Ukrainian superstar Vasyl Lomachenko; Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin; and up-and-coming stars such as Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis would all bring Fight Night into the current era.
What game modes could be included?
Fight Night Champion had three gameplay modes: Fight Now, Legacy, and Champion, and a new Fight Night game would likely offer similar options with a few upgrades.
The mode that allows one or two players to jump straight into a fight after selecting their boxers and venue. The most straightforward of game modes, this is a format where little can be changed.
Fight Night’s career mode, Legacy saw players either select an existing fighter or create their own and start their careers from the beginning. Through fights and training camps, players would increase their stats as they work towards world title shots and eventual domination.
A new Fight Night game would have plenty of room for improvement to more accurately reflect a boxer’s career. These could include greater control over potential fights, selecting promoters and trainers, moving down in weight classes (in FN Champion, you could only move up), and the creation of rivalries.
The new and standout addition to Fight Night Champion will surely return and take Champion Mode even further. This was the story mode that saw players take control of Andre Bishop as he goes from framed prison inmate to world champion.
There are so many storylines that EA could explore to expand Champion Mode in a new Fight Night game, perhaps even offering players the choice of multiple stories.
While Champion Mode proved hugely popular, it was quite rigid in the sense that players strictly followed the trajectory from start to finish. A new Champion Mode should offer more flexibility, meaning players can experience different outcomes based on the decisions they make.
What could the game control be like?
A new Fight Night game would likely adopt an upgraded version of the ‘Full Spectrum Punch Control’ that was introduced to Fight Night Champion, which allowed players greater control over punches, blocks, and head and feet movement.
However, what could be an interesting addition would be the option to fight using virtual reality headsets. In the decade since the last Fight Night, VR gaming has become increasingly common and more refined – and who wouldn’t want to climb inside the ropes and go toe-to-toe with Muhammad Ali?
At this stage a new Fight Night game is speculative but high demand and the launch of the next generation consoles mean it makes sense for EA to revive the series. If it did, fans will hope it will be worth the wait.