“A spiritual successor to a project that helped define Rocket League” – Chat with Psyonix on Knockout Bash


If you don’t keep up rocket league, the soccer hybrid that’s been touring with its own community for the past few years, you may have missed the launch of Knockout Bash mode. Although this event is only available for a limited time, it shifts the focus away from goals and soccer balls and towards a more combat-oriented experience.

The development team talked more about this mode in their Under the Hood video (embedded below), but we reached out to Senior Game Designer Josh Watson to delve a little deeper into what inspired the first update to driving away from the ball, and how The new combat system was designed, and future modes in a similar style.

VG247: They talked about inspiration for this mode in the Under The Hood video. What prompted the team to leave “now is the time for a non-football option”.

Josh: The studio was originally founded by a group of modders, so we’ve always had this culture of experimentation and exploration. I’d like to say that there was a meeting where we made this conscious decision to go with a non-Soccar option, but honestly we’re just fans of the game. As we sat down and started working on the mode, our conversations always revolved around how we could find something new and fun to bring to the game; something we’d like to play. As we started diverting ideas from each other, we kept coming back to the idea that it would be great to figure out how to revisit Crash Course and implement a spiritual successor to a project that helped define Rocket League .

VG247: How long has this been in the works?

Josh: This mode was in early prototyping with a very limited team about a year ago, but actual development started about 6 months ago. The team would grow incrementally, with most of the development taking place over the past three months.

VG247: Can we expect more ventures in non-football modes in the future?

Josh: It really depends on the appetite of our players and the community. As I mentioned in the Under the Hood video, we’ve seen a healthy interest from developers in the community to provide non-Soccar experiences within Rocket League. This was our first opportunity to introduce this type of experience to the player base in general. As we experiment with the game, we always let players tell us if we’re going in the right direction. If they want to see more, that’s the biggest factor for us.

VG247: Tell me about some of the new attack options that have been added to the mode: the new attack, block, and grab. How did you come to the final choice of the new attack options?

Josh: Each of these abilities play a key role in the core fight for Knockout. We call her the Trinity; and they work very much like rock-paper-scissors. At any point in combat, a player may choose to use any of these moves to gain the upper hand in combat. Once players master these skills, the actual game tries to anticipate your opponent’s moves and choose the right skill to counter whatever he throws at you.

VG247: It looks like a lot of work has gone into this limited time mode, enough to make you curious as to why it’s limited in the first place. Do you plan to permanently add this or any other mode similar to Knockout?

Josh: Within the team that developed Knockout, we see this LTM as a brand new experience that has a lot of potential for iteration and further exploration, but all of that really depends on player acceptance. For us, the first step is to release it, see how the community likes it, and see what kind of adjustments we need to make to make Knockout the best it can be. So that’s the part we’re focusing on right now. We’ll see what the future holds for Knockout once we’ve had this conversation with our players.

VG247: Part of the video that pricked my ears was when “edge guard” popped up towards the end of the video. In fact, many stage-based fighting games appeared throughout the video. How much DNA from this game genre went into this mode?

Josh: Ha ha, good catch! Yes, edge guarding is one of my personal favorite skills that higher level players pick up when they master Knockout. Judging by how much Brawler DNA has made it into the mode, I’d say there’s a healthy amount of inspiration from the genre. One of the very different things that Knockout does is that players have complete control over movement in 3D space, which was one of the biggest challenges in creating the mode. In many ways we’re breaking new ground with this type of game, so we’re excited to solve some of these challenges for the first time.

If you’d like to try Knockout Bash for yourself, you have until May 10th to try it out! If you’re looking to snag some free cosmetics for the game, head over to our Rocket League Codes page for some free stuff in May. “A spiritual successor to a project that helped define Rocket League” – Chat with Psyonix on Knockout Bash

Fry Electronics Team

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