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E3: THQ's Bilson Says UFC Undisputed 3 Solves Differentiation Challenges

THQ core games head Danny Bilson says the reason UFC Undisputed 2 didn't sell as well as its predecessor was a lack of differentiation -- a problem he says has been solved with the third title.
When THQ's UFC Undisputed hit shelves in 2009, its surprise breakout -- 3.5 million units sold -- success revealed an enormous audience for the license. But the reason that the publisher's second UFC game didn't sell as well, moving 2.6 million units and disappointing projections, isn't due to saturation or fatigue, the publisher's core games boss Danny Bilson tells Gamasutra. "I think we didn't have as big of a differentiation from [UFC Undisputed] 1 to 2," he reflects. For the third title, which the publisher teased at E3, "the mission for this game was you have to want to buy this one." It adds two new weight classes and over 150 fighters, plus a PRIDE mode that lets players compete using Japanese MMA rules, among other new rules. Most importantly, the control set's been modified to expand the game's audience, helping UFC Undisputed 3 aim more broadly than the prior iterations. "There's a brand new control set so that everybody can play, and now it reaches to a broader audience," Bilson says. "Let's put it this way: Even I can play now... and I also think it's going to play well to the audience. It's a brand new package." The company's confident that UFC Undisputed 3 represents a clearer value add over the second game than the second game represented over the first, and with features aimed to expand the audience THQ is relying on the game to help it meaningfully grow that licensed brand. "I think we've solved any issues in terms of upgrading the software," Bilson adds. "Now you can look at it as a game that's been in development for five years." Gamasutra's full interview with THQ's Bilson will run in the coming week.

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