We've been clamoring for some much-needed cartoon violence in our boxing games since Y2K was a "threat” to national security. And after years of dominating the boxing ring Floyd Mayweather–style with its popular Fight Night series, EA Sports puts some of that fun back with its latest boxing sim, FaceBreaker—the next coming of the late-'90s Ready 2 Rumble.

It might seem sadistic doubling over in laughter as you pummel somebody's face into a nice, fine paste, but that's one of the kicks of this arcade romp that pits various characters with mutant skills (such as punching an opponent so hard his head twists around like Linda Blair) against one another to see who will stand victorious. Considering EA is being virgin-tight with information on this game, our strategy is to corner the game's art director and producer, and hit them with a flurry of jabs until one of them squeals like a chick.

EA Sports was making money hand over fist with Fight Night; now the arcade-boxing genre is back with FaceBreaker. You do know monopolies are illegal, right?
TODD BATTY [producer, FaceBreaker]: The very first line of thinking was that [FaceBreaker] was going to be the arcade version of Fight Night. It then evolved into discussions about what we wanted this game to be, a fighting game or a boxing game. Beyond that, everything else is up in the air. Now, having said that, we have limited things like kicking and head-butting in the game, but those types of moves may show up in some of the special attacks.

What kind of over-the-top characters will we see?
GREG JUBY [art director]:
We have a character named Ice who is visually like Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man—you know, with the perfectly sculpted hair—and he's perfect in attitude like Val Kilmer in Top Gun. But from the get-go we were thinking [characters from] Super Punch Out on a next-gen system. If Nintendo made that game today, what would it look like?

A boxing game without Mike Tyson's name on it, that's for sure.
TODD:
I loved boxing titles like Mike Tyson's Punch Out back in the day! From very early on, our goal with this game was to take what made a classic title like that so great and bring that to the new generation of systems. What made those titles great were the identifiable characters and a compelling core fighting system. That's why we chose to go over the top in terms of fighting styles. For example, we gave some characters the ability to jump way into the air when executing certain special moves—something that you could never do in Fight Night. Other notable differences are that there are no judges, no decisions, and [there are] two different ways to win a fight.

Enough with the suspense. What are the ways?
TODD:
You can win by knocking someone out in the traditional boxing sense, or you can focus on the secondary objective, which is to actually break your opponent's face.

Sweet. How do you smash someone's grill?
GREG:
Sorry for such a teaser response, but I don't think words can do it justice. It is something you have to see.

*Check out KING's June 2008 issue for more virtual fisticuff fun*