EA Sports UFC is the only active mixed martial arts video game franchise available for consoles, but there is room for another. Enter Bellator MMA.
Bellator is rapidly carving itself a viable niche within the MMA community on the real-life side of things. With marquee free-agent signings and high-profile events like Bellator NYC/180 on June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York, the promotion company is growing exponentially.
A video game would be a logical and potentially fruitful next step for Bellator. Some may not remember or realize this, but Bellator MMA already had a video game.
Bellator MMA video game: There's precedent for it
Bellator MMA: Onslaught was a download-only arcade title for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was released in 2012, but it was wasn't well-received, scoring only 47 on Metacritic.
Bellator MMA: Onslaught was developed by Kung Fu Factory. While it featured some mildly entertaining arcade combat, there's no question a new Bellator title would need some significant upgrades to make an imprint in today's sports gaming market.
The first step would be to link up with a quality development studio with a good gameplan for producing an MMA simulation. Also, the developers need to embrace the entertainment and arcade aspects of fighting games.
Bellator MMA video game: Why its a perfect fit
One of Bellator's qualities as a promoter is its balance between hardcore MMA action and more novelty fights like the Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva bout that headlined Bellator NYC.
Whether the Sonnen/Silva fight was a fitting main event is debatable, but there is no questioning Sonnen's ability to sell a fight with his self-promotion skills.
Bellator's seen success with similar matchups featuring fighters like the late Kimbo Slice, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz.
While none of the aforementioned fighters were considered title contenders when they climbed into a Bellator cage, their inclusion in a game would be essential. Their presence on the game's roster would also add instant credibility.
Novelty fights have been great for Bellator, and along those same lines, unconventional game modes would be interesting in a game with the promotion's license. An all-striking mode with over-the-top animations and effects or a survival mode that challenges gamers to finish as many opponents as possible before losing all of their health would appeal to a wide variety of gamers. EA Sports UFC has a KO mode, but it was limited to local play and the presentation wasn't as grandiose as it could have been.
If a new Bellator game was developed — and fans found it both fun and realistic — it would further grow the Bellator brand. Sports video games can often grow an athlete's individual brand and raise awareness of a sport.
It's the kind of positive exposure Bellator should be pursuing.
Let's hope that's the case.
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