AGOURA HILLS, Calif. - MMA apparel pioneers, TV stars and cageside fixtures the TapouT crew will be featured in the upcoming THQ-developed video game "UFC 2009 Undisputed."
THQ officials on Thursday revealed the final three playable characters to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
With the previously announced roster of 80 fighters, plus two bonus characters available by purchasing the title at GameStop, the impressive list of playable characters tops out at 85.
THQ officials said they reconsidered the idea after the tragic March death of TapouT founder Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr. in an automobile accident. After consulting with the remaining two members of the crew, "Punkass" and "Skyscrape," the decision was made to keep "Mask" and the others in the final release.
The three members of the TapouT crew will be included as unlockable characters. While specifics regarding the requirements to unlock the characters were not immediately available, THQ officials said specific in-game accomplishments are required to play as "Mask," "Punkass," or "Skyscrape."
Lewis appeared on the cover of two previous incarnations of UFC video games. The TapouT founder appeared inconspicuously in 2004's "UFC: Sudden Impact," as well as 2002's "UFC: Throwdown."
THQ officials also clarified with MMAjunkie.com some of the questions surrounding the bonus characters of Ryan Bader and Efrain Escudero, available when purchasing "UFC 2009: Undisputed" through Gamestop.
While many observers speculated that the two characters would be provided as immediately available downloadable content or through the use of a password, THQ officials explained that the discs being shipped to Gamestop were actually fabricated differently than the copies being distributed to other retailers.
Bader and Escudero will be immediately available to users who purchase the game through Gamestop, while those who buy with other retailers will be able to download the two characters free-of-charge 90 days after the May 19 release date.
THQ currently plans to have Bader and Escudero as the only two fighters available as downloadable content in "UFC 2009: Undisputed."
With two years remaining on its contract with the UFC, THQ is already hard at work on the follow-up to "UFC 2009: Undisputed." Future incarnations are expected to feature more downloadable characters. Company officials cited UFC light heavyweight prospect Jon Jones as the perfect example of the type of character they would have loved to create after the original deadline for roster completion had passed.
With 85 playable characters, "UFC 2009: Undisputed" has one of the largest roster lists ever created for a fighting game.
Company officials also stressed that Bloomberg.com's recent prediction of two million units sold in nine months was simply the belief of an industry analyst.
While selling two million units of a title released for just two systems (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) could be considered a success, the company may have loftier ambitions. While officials would not divulge information regarding current pre-sale levels, THQ is encouraged by the strong early figures.