Roller Champions

Is Ubisoft’s Roller Champions really a clone of Rocket League? Is a Psyonix lawsuit imminent?

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Ubisoft, during its E3 press conference announced its take on the Rocket League arena genre. Roller Champions is a 3v3 roller derby sports game in development at Ubisoft Montreal, Winnipeg and Pune. The game features a very familiar high-speed and precision focused style that would certainly remind you of Rocket League. Roller Champions will be out in early 2020 as a free-to-play title, according to Ubisoft.

However, one odd thing from the conference was the fact that the game is apparently only being developed for PC right now. It would be interesting to see if other platforms are added because if they’re not, Ubisoft would be missing out. The Rocket League genre is absolutely massive on consoles and works the best with a controller. You can play Roller Champions right now on Uplay PC until 14th of June.

A game of Roller Champions is played in an oval shaped loop (kind of like an elongated donut) with sloped walls. The aim is simple, carry the ball around at least through one lap of the loop and at the end try to throw it through the hoop popping out of the wall. Seems easy enough but as with Rocket League, things are not as simple as they sound. There are tons of ways to stop the opposition from scoring. Players can choose to intercept passes and tackle opponents to regain possession and these things are actual separate actions like FIFA rather than purely skill-based like Rocket League. You can also choose to not throw the ball into the hoop after completing a lap. Instead, players can choose to go around and complete more laps to get more points. Completing 2 laps gets you three points and if you manage to somehow complete 3 laps and score, you win the game at 5 points.

Did Roller Champions Copy Rocket League?

From the rule sets and arenas, Roller Champions feels like an entirely different game from Rocket League. However, when it comes to actual feel and aesthetic of the whole gameplay, Roller Champions feels a lot more like Rocket League than many people would anticipate.

The game is all about controlling your momentum and applying precise control to you character to navigate through the loop. There is also constant decision making involved in Roller Champions just like Rocket League.

For example, do you decide to guard the goal to intercept the eventual shot or do you chase down the enemy and tackle the ball off. You also need to have constant awareness of your surroundings and teammates to avoid any mix-ups.

Roller Champions

A lot of people were upset at the game feeling like Rocket League. However, the anger is not justified in my opinion. First of all, reducing Roller Champions to the tag of a Rocket League clone is unfair to the developers who have worked so hard on the game and it shows as well. Roller Champions already feels like a very polished game and is also different enough to make its own name in the games industry.

Secondly, even if the game was exactly like Rocket League, that would not be an entirely bad thing either. We need to realise that competition will always be good for the consumer. There would not have been a PUBG in this world without Arma’s Battle Royale mod. Without PUBG, we would not have had Fortnite and Apex Legends. All of these are fantastic games that have their own fanbases.

Similarly, the Rocket League genre also has a lot of room for expansion and we cannot expect a single 4-year-old game to carry the banner alone. Unsurprisingly, Roller Champions is not even the first game to try out a different take on the whole Rocket League genre. I remember playing a pretty good game called Mad Machines a while back that felt very similar to the whole thing.

In any case, I feel like Roller Champions has a lot of potential to be an amazing game and people grabbing their pitchforks against it should re-evaluate. The game already feels like a finished product and it can only get better from here. Moreover, there is also a ton of potential here for Roller Champions to be a top-notch Esports game. So, until the game is actually out, let’s not be

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