knockout city

EA looks to free trial period to establish Knockout City – the ‘dodgebrawl’ game from creators of Mario Kart Live

Knockout City was a well-received part of last night’s Nintendo Direct. The ‘dodgebrawl’ title is a cross-platform competitive game with teams of three or four attempting to eliminate their opponents in time-honoured fashion.

It’s the kind of relatively small, competitive game that could go nowhere, or could be the next Rocket League. But there’s something familiar about this one.

The game is part of EA’s Originals label, and so follows on stylistically and in terms of genre from EA’s 2020 Rocket Arena. A similarly competitive title that never found traction despite being fun to play.

If Knockout City is going to do better, then EA needs to find a better way to get the ball into people’s hands so to speak. Early signs aren’t hugely convincing. On the plus side it’s running a beta this weekend and will have a free trial period (length unconfirmed) upon launch.

However, beyond that it still wants to charge $20 up front for a title that screams ‘free-to-play’ and ‘cosmetic microtransactions’.

There’s no word yet on whether the game will be freely available as part of EA Play, which in turn could make it free on Game Pass potentially, and provide some gatekeeping to a very big potential audience. Much like how Fall Guys springboarded off PlayStation Plus into a huge pool of sales on Steam.

Behind the game is Velan Studios. Who garnered huge attention last year with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Now tying up a deal with EA shows the company certainly has some sharp negotiators, and proves it’s got more to it than AR titles. One to watch for sure.

“At Velan we obsess over finding new play experiences,” said Karthik Bala, Co-founder and CEO of Velan Studios. “Knockout City starts with the deceptively simple concept of throwing and catching a ball and layers in an incredible amount of skill, depth and style, for a refreshingly fun competitive multiplayer experience that you have to play to believe. It ain’t just dodgeball, it’s dodgeBRAWL. Since we first found that magic in the game, we haven’t been able to stop playing and we can’t wait to share that experience with some of you during this weekend’s first closed beta.”

“We’re honored to be working with Velan Studios on their first-ever EA Originals release,” said Steve Pointon, SVP 3rd Party Content & Development at Electronic Arts. “Composed of some of the greatest minds in the industry, the team’s work on Knockout City truly showcases their vast expertise and talent. We’re very excited for everyone to play it and feel what makes this game a high-energy and innovative experience.”

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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