Rocket League, the video game best described as soccer with cars, has been curiously absent from the mobile market despite the platform becoming integral to the success of many of its competitors, including Call of Duty, Fortnite, and PUBG. However, developer Psyonix will now seek to end the franchise’s mobile shyness by launching the spin-off game Rocket League Sideswipe in 2021.
Sideswipe sounds much like its big-screen counterpart. It will feature many of the same customization options as Rocket League, for instance, and retain the player ranking system. It will be interesting to see if players will be able to use their existing Rocket League cars and game account to play Sideswipe though, as some existing elements are premium, seasonal, or otherwise time-limited.
Rocket League Sideswipe finished an alpha test in New Zealand and Australia in March. In footage from the test, players were competing on a pitch viewed side-on, with goals orientated vertically instead of horizontally. It also seems to place much more of an emphasis on aerial play from the start, a skill that’s difficult to master in the original game.
New Zealand has enjoyed some success in the online gaming niche this year. In April, the country hosted the fifth round of the eSports WRC Championship event, a tournament won – as expected – by Lebanon’s Sami-Joe. Sport New Zealand also officially recognized the New Zealand Esports Federation as the national regulator for eSports, a step that further legitimizes competitive video gaming in the Southern Hemisphere.
Recently, New Zealand has grown popular with a different online gaming market altogether, iGaming or casino. The number of websites now serving the country is approaching 30. The Department of Internal Affairs revealed that spending on casino games broke records in 2020. Bonus.net.nz has more on New Zealand’s prominence as a gaming haven in their recent no deposit casino bonus article.
Having said all that, Rocket League in the Southern Hemisphere made the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, with controversy over match-throwing during the Oceanic Championship. Team Esper is alleged to have allowed opponents FURY to win their match-up, which ultimately handed a play-off position to the latter.
It’s unknown at present whether Rocket League Sideswipe will join the eSports circuit alongside its franchise mate. As Rocket League’s professional competition is usually played in a 3v3 or 4v4 arrangement though, something that won’t be possible in Sideswipe, which will favor shorter 1v1 and 2v2 games, the new mobile game could add a unique twist to existing tournaments. It’ll be played at a much faster pace, for one.
Psyonix staff indicated that Sideswipe was a response to changes in how the community plays Rocket League. Smaller matches have historically been unpopular though. Solo duel or 1v1 is difficult to queue for and even harder to maintain competition in, as players will often forfeit when losing or if they’re matched against a stronger opponent. This suggests that Psyonix is targeting a new set of players, something they’ve hinted at before with the Llama-Rama Fortnite crossover event.