Image Source: Steel City Interactive, via YouTube
Fight Night Champion was the last fully-fledged boxing video game that fans of the sport could embrace.
Punch Club is a great indie game, as is Boxing Champs, and there is hope for Round4Round Boxing, but the top-tier experience is nowhere to be seen.
Now, hope has been restored in the form of a new game from a British indie game development team and their launch trailer for eSports Boxing Club.
Steel City Interactive announce eSports Boxing Club
On 19 April, the Steel City Interactive YouTube channel posted its first video, the launch trailer to eSports Boxing Club.
As you can see above, they’re ready to showcase some in-game footage, with the game boasts some splendid graphics in the eSports Boxing Club launch trailer.
As far as a launch trailer from an indie development team goes, this looks pretty sound, and there are some great people on board.
eSports Boxing Club Roster
eSports Boxing Club boasts many recognisable and some legendary members of the boxing scene as a part of the game’s creation, including:
- Paul Dempsey and Johnny Nelson (Big Fight Commentary Team)
- Craig Stephen (Ring Announcer)
- Ryan Rhodes (Technical Consultant)
- Jamie Sheldon and Ian ‘Jumbo’ Johnson (Cutmen)
- Dave Coldwell and Ben Davison (Trainers)
- Frank Bruno and Ricky Hatton (Featured Fighters)
- Sunny Edwards (Featured Fighter)
- Johnny Nelson, Kid Galahad, Andrew Maloney (Featured Fighters)
- Sergio Martinez (Featured Fighter)
- Patrick Rokohl, Enzo Maccarinelli, Jason Moloney, Terri Harper, Shannon Courtenay, Sophie Alisch, Josh Taylor (Featured Fighters)
- Andres Campos (Rising Stars Featured Fighter)
Many more boxers have been announced since this initial list was given. Check out our eSports Boxing Club page to see who else has joined the roster.
What game modes will eSports Boxing Club have?
The trailer indicates that eSports Boxing Club has earned the licence of the British Boxing Board of Control, with players also being able to fight for the Lord Lonsdale Challenge Belt.
The description for eSports Boxing Club on the YouTube video also details that the game will feature a full career mode, a roster of boxers from all over the world and across multiple weight divisions, and the chance to fight to become a world champion.
On the official website, Steel City Interactive has now eluded to some more details about the gameplay. The developers claim that eSports Boxing Club will feature “the deepest RPG mechanics seen in a combat-based boxing game,” which makes the prospect of this title even greater.
The development team divulged a lot more information about the upcoming boxing title towards the end of June, including the inclusion of exciting game modes like Hardcore Mode, The Club, and eSports Tournaments – all of which you can learn more about here.
What to expect from the eSports Boxing Club gameplay
Authenticity is said to be the name of the game for eSports Boxing Club, with the development team having partnered with leading 3D character modelling studios to create lifelike characters and environments.
Furthermore, the gameplay mechanics have been built using true-to-life weight-to-limb ratios and velocity impacts, resulting in real-time staggers and damage in eSports Boxing Club.
eSports Boxing Club release date [Updated, July 2021]
The intended Esports Boxing Club has been cancelled. The boxing game will not enter early access in summer 2021 and won’t be given a replacement release window until a firm release date can be confirmed.
In a tweet to announce the game, the development team behind eSports Boxing Club states that they’ve been developing the game since 2019, which probably means that the ‘Coming Soon’ label at the end of the trailer doesn’t mean that the release will be too soon.
Having said that, 14-0 super-flyweight Sunny Edwards, who’ll be in the game, Tweeted encouragement that the game will be out on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam – suggesting a 2020 release – with the game then set to move on to next-gen consoles.
Since then, on 29 July via a new gameplay video, the development team has announced that their plans to launch early access in the summer of 2021 have been cancelled. To have enough time to do justice to the game and boxers, they won’t be announcing a release window of any kind until a firm ESBC release date can be given.
Regardless, the need for a boxing game is so great that fans will be willing to wait, turning to the Xbox One’s backward-compatible version of Fight Night Champion, for now.
New teaser trailer starring Johnny Nelson
On 23 June, Steel City Interactive unleashed a brand new teaser trailer to show off some game engine footage and the licences acquired.
With a rather lifelike Johnny Nelson starring in the trailer, it was also revealed that over 50 professionals of the sport have now been licensed, along with the WBC and Ring Magazine.
Boxing fans need eSports Boxing Club
It has been too long since the last big boxing title; the sport and gaming industry have come too far for boxing not to have a top-class video game.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what was happening in boxing when Fight Night Champion was released on 4 March 2011:
- David Haye was lining up a unification bout with Wladimir Klitschko;
- Vitali Klitschko was readying a defence of his WBC heavyweight title;
- Cecilia Braekhus was a 16-0 unified world champion but still not allowed to fight in her home country, Norway, as boxing was still outlawed;
- Bernard Hopkins was preparing for his light-heavyweight title rematch against Jean Pascal;
- Carl Froch was eyeing up a Super Six World Boxing Classic semi-final against Glen Johnson to defend his WBC super-middleweight title;
- Miguel Cotto was the WBA super-welterweight champion;
- The super-featherweight world championships were split between Takahuro Ao, Takashi Uchiyama, and Ricky Burns;
- Floyd Mayweather Jr was quite possibly preparing a case for the criminal charges brought against him in late 2010.
As for some of the biggest stars in boxing today:
- Anthony Joshua, Katie Taylor, Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk, Artur Beterbiev, Luke Campbell, Claressa Shields, and Nicola Adams were all amateurs, with some gunning for the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships, and then the 2012 Olympic Games;
- Mikey Garcia was 24-0 and lined up to fight for the WBO NABO featherweight title;
- Terence Crawford had recently moved to 12-0 having defeated Anthony Mora on the undercard of a small event in Nebraska;
- Manny Pacquiao had recently become a congressman in his native Philippines and was looking to a Las Vegas bout with Shane Mosley;
- Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was set to fight Matthew Hatton the very next day for the super-welterweight title relinquished by Manny Pacquiao;
- Naoya Inoue was just 18-years-old and would go on to win the President’s Cup in Indonesia later that year;
- Gennady Golovkin had recently retained his WBA world middleweight title for the first time;
- Tyson Fury recently move to 14-0 on a Wembley Arena card, defeating fellow undefeated heavyweight Marcelo Nascimento.
A great deal has changed in boxing since Fight Night Champion was released, let alone since it commenced development. The sport is much more popular now than it was then, with a lot more star power.
However, one of the reasons why a new boxing game has been difficult to bring together is because the image rights to the biggest boxers are spread across several promotion agencies or are held by the boxers themselves.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing is often seen pleading on social media to Electronic Arts – the creators of Fight Night – to revive their boxing game and has contacted them directly.
During his Instagram Live on 11 April, Hearn explained: “EA Sports don’t really seem interested in boxing and Fight Night. So, should I just do one myself?” continuing, “We’ll start our own rival game to EA Sports Fight Night!”
What might be best is for Hearn to give some financial backing and licensing to a boxing game already in development, such as eSports Boxing Club.
While some current stars and plenty of legends being on the boxing roster would be nice, the best thing that Steel City Interactive can do is build a fundamentally sound boxing game and then grow it and gradually build the roster.
Use this eSports Boxing Club game as the foundations and finally bring boxing back into gaming. With sound gameplay and graphics, fans will come as, after all, there isn’t any competition out there right now.
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