It’s been a hit on PS4 and it’s still topping the Steam charts, but the success of sports racing title Rocket League has taken its developer Psyonix by surprise.
And that, founder Dave Hagewood told Gamasutra, is part of the reason why the game has struggled to get its servers up to speed since launch.
It’s been crazy,” he said. It was very strange having such success, and then having such a big problem to fix at the same time. We were kind of scrambling to get things working.
Demand was just so much higher than we expected it to be. We really needed to build a better system to handle that level of load. Funny thing is, we build bigger systems for bigger companies all the time; we just didn’t expect to need something like that for this particular game.”
Rocket League’s matchmaking is now fixed, although players continue to experience problems with intermittent lag.
Having admitted that the game’s predecessor Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars was a tough title to pitch to publishers – which is why it was eventually self-published – Hagewood also admitted to pondering what financial gains could possibly have been won had the team not decided the make the game free on PS+ at launch.
I will always wonder; given how much it has taken off, you have to wonder,” he admitted. You look at the amount of downloads and you go ‘Wow, that would have made a lot of money if we’d had even a tenth of that in paid sales’. But we knew what we were doing when we made that deal. We knew that was a possibility."
"I’m a very patient person, and I’d rather build this brand and make it become a thing than make piles of cash. I look at it as a long-term strategy: even if we have to wait until we make Rocket League 2, if it’s become a thing, that’s the most important thing for me. That it becomes this phenomenon. That people realize we’ve been making this really cool game, and now everyone’s playing it.”