On January 31st, 2023, Iron Galaxy made the announcement that their “brawler royale” multiplayer game Rumbleverse would be shutting down for good. By the end of February, we’ll be saying goodbye to one of the more innovative, enjoyable and just downright different multiplayer games on the market today, and that’s a real shame. Rumbleverse deserved so much better than to be sunsetted only six months after the game’s launch.
It sucks because the core gameplay of Rumbleverse was fantastic, with easy to learn controls, plenty of moves to utilise and a surprising amount of depth that elevated the game beyond just 40 players in a lobby mashing buttons and hoping for the best. Sure, I might have cursed Rumbleverse’s name a few times in the game’s later days, as Rumbleverse seemingly loved matching me with top-ranked players who could destroy me in one combo, but that only made my eventual victories even sweeter.
With gameplay that solid, it’s hard to work out why Rumbleverse might have “failed”. Some have already pointed to the game’s admittedly generic visuals, which are reminiscent of fellow Epic published game Fortnite. You could argue that Rumbleverse’s identity relied too much on its actual gameplay instead of its visual appeal, meaning a lot of people could have been turned off by first impressions alone.
You could also make the argument that the gameplay itself is what led to the death of Rumbleverse, and that’s got nothing to do with how the game is balanced or any updates that Iron Galaxy happened to add. Rumbleverse was essentially ice skating uphill by being a melee focused multiplayer brawler in a landscape dominated by shooters. Without 360 no scopes or cranked 90s in Rumbleverse, it was always going to be aimed at a niche audience, limiting its overall lifespan.
Some have also pointed to the lack of marketing that Rumbleverse received from Epic Games, as there are people out there who only heard of Rumbleverse now that it’s being shut down. Given how Epic Games also have Fortnite and Rocket League in their portfolio, it could have been very easy for Epic to pull some kind of collaboration to drum up interest in Rumbleverse. Hell, Fortnite even has fighting game characters and wrestlers in it, both of which would have been a perfect fit for Rumbleverse.
Personally, I think at least part of the truth lies somewhere else. Quite frankly, trying to make a multiplayer game, let alone another battle royale game, that actually does something different is a fool’s errand. People will play the same online shooters and battle royales day in and day out, before hopping on social media to complain that they want something new from games. However, a game like Rumbleverse comes along that actually does something different, but through no fault of its own, it ends up being sunsetted half a year later.
It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that people just don’t want something different anymore, which is saddening because I genuinely love multiplayer games that try to experiment with how you interact with other players. It feels like the last multiplayer game that actively tried to be different was Among Us, and now that’s spawned a wave of social deception multiplayer games that are probably going to get delisted by the end of the year too.
Since Iron Galaxy announced that Rumbleverse will be shutting down, scores of players have taken to social media to share some of their favourite moments with the game, lamenting the fact that it’ll all be over by the end of the month. Hopefully, this outpouring of support before Rumbleverse is given the Of Mice And Men treatment will prove to some developers that there’s a market for games that do things a little differently, especially if they’re extremely hype brawlers that blend fighting games and wrestling.
In the meantime, I’ll see you all on the barge. I’ll be the guy in the Cobra Kai gi with the pixel sunglasses.
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