New EA Multiplayer Game Knockout City Makes Me Nervous

Hmmm, I'm not sure.

Knockout City

During today’s Nintendo Direct stream, Velan Studios and EA have announced that they’re releasing Knockout City on May 21st. While it was revealed during a Nintendo stream, it’s also coming to the PS4, Xbox One and PC, and will be enhanced for the PS5 and Xbox Series X | S. Initially, I was excited about the idea, but the more I think about it, the more nervous I feel about the game’s prospects.


What Is Knockout City?

Knockout City is a multiplayer game that blends together dodgeball and brawling elements to create a blend referred to by Velan as “DodgeBRAWL”. Players will form teams to throw balls at each other across a varied collection of maps, with plenty of customisation options available to players to unlock.

There’s even cross-platform multiplayer confirmed for the game, meaning you’ll be able to play with your friends no matter where you choose to play. An interview with Engadget about the game confirmed it’ll launch for around $20, with a free trial during the game’s launch to boot.


So Why Does It Make You Nervous?

Well, it all just sounds a bit too familiar. Last year, EA were gearing up to release Rocket Arena, a multiplayer game that eschewed standard shooter traditions by allowing players to shoot rockets that knock each other off the map. It was a novel concept, but it died a death on launch as what should have been a free-to-play game launched as a premium title. Servers were almost deserted not long after launch, leading to the game being heavily discounted incredibly quickly.

Not only that, but dodgeball games might not be worth investing in at the moment anyway. Last year also saw the launch of HyperBrawl Tournament, a handball-meets-Rocket League that has similar throw and catch mechanics to what Knockout City is displaying. The main issue with HyperBrawl is that no-one was around to play the game online, meaning the game could never live up to its potential.

If Knockout City launches as a free-to-play title, perhaps there’s a chance it’ll catch on, especially considering it’s launching across all major platforms. With all those players able to get involved, it might be able to find an audience somewhere. Accuracy by volume, right? I hope it does well, just because it looks kind of cool (even if the trailer is a bit cringey), but I’m just managing my expectations.

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