Fight Night Round 4 steps into the ring

The gloves are on and the robes are off — EA has announced that its boxing franchise will be continued and will receive a second installment on the current generation of consoles.

EA’s Fight Night series has been a genre leader for some time, and when you’re at the top of the pile and the competition isn’t too fierce, there’s always the danger of getting a little sloppy. We all saw what happened to the Tony Hawk’s series (or what didn’t happen, depending how you look at it).

But, EA is assuring consumers that Fight Night Round 4 isn’t the same game you bought last year or the year before with a little bit of polish, but that they have been working hard to ensure this installment in the series is as fresh and exciting as gamers would hope.

Kevin Wilkinson, Executive Producer, EA Sports: “The EA Sports Fight Night franchise has always been synonymous with quality and innovation that raised the bar for the sports videogame genre. EA Sports Fight Night Round 3 was a platform defining game as the industry transitioned to next generation consoles. EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 4 will change how boxing games are played and measured in the future.”

Big words, and we’d expect nothing less from the guy trying to sell the game, but what exactly are they doing to ensure this game is everything they want it to be?

For a start, the game will see the implementation of an all-new physics-based animation system that recreates the full spectrum of true-to-life punch impacts, giving boxers a huge array of punches, blocks and ring movements. The new physics system allows for missed punches, glancing punches, knockout blows and for the first time ever, rough and tumble inside fighting. Fatigue, adrenaline, footwork and timing will all factor as you hammer away at your opponents.

EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 4 will be available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2009. In the meanwhile, boxing fans have another EA boxing title to look forward to — the slightly less serious FaceBreaker.