Games come and go; it’s an inevitable fact of life. Relatively few games have what it takes to last more than a month or two in the spotlight, and that goes double for games that focus entirely on multiplayer. I’ve seen far too many good multiplayer games die because the next big thing comes out and the majority of the player base moved on.
Rocket League, that strangely addictive game about cars playing soccer, has somehow endured. And not only has it endured, it’s well on its way to becoming one of the most important video games of this generation.
Leading up to its release it was an unknown title; nobody I knew had ever heard of it until it debuted as one of the PS4’s Instant Game Collection games. Word spread quickly, and between word of mouth and the explosion of let’s plays on youtube bringing it into the spotlight, the world of Rocket League exploded.
The premise is entertaining enough. Rocket-powered cars playing soccer with a seriously oversized ball. Want to boost to the other side of the field? You can do that. Want to destroy opponents by violently crashing into them to create an opening? You can do that. Want to drive on the ceiling? You can do that too. Would you like to customizer your car’s design and paint and stick a gaudy hat on top of it? Go right ahead. It’s so wacky, but so very addicting. It turned out to be deceptively addicting.
Even after it exited the Instant Game Collection lineup it continued to sell like hotcakes and still boasts an active user base over half a year later. This is, of course, thanks in part to the updates it’s received. Nods to classics such as the Back to the Future update corresponding with the anniversary of the series, the upcoming basketball mode which replaces soccer with basketball (duh), the frequent patches and fixes, it’s all added up to create one very good game.
But that’s not why we’re beginning to think it’s the game of this generation. It’s all great and has led up to this point, but it’s not why.
Since the beginning it’s been Cross-play; people playing on the PS4 are playing with and against people playing on PC. That’s huge, and has only happened on one other occasion that I know of: when Portal 2 came out and it was cross-buy/play with the PS3.
Now, though, the game is changing again. In a move that seemed to come out of nowhere, it was announced that the Xbox One version of Rocket League will also soon be cross-play with the PC. And, by extension, the PS4.
Obviously Xbox and Playstation have been enemies since the first Xbox released all those years ago, and this could be the start of the next iteration of that rivalry. They could become frienemies, still competing of course, but at the same time giving us what we’ve been dreaming of for a very long time.
And it’s all thanks to Rocket League showing that it can be done and pushing to get the capability for its other major platform as well. It’s the first game on Xbox to have the cross-play capability and that makes it something special already, but the fact that this opens up the pathway to true cross-platform support is really something else.
Sure there are other factors at play, but until this wacky little game came onto the scene, people only seemed to talk about it instead of doing it.
This is a big deal now, but when we look back in a generation or two to see what started it off (assuming it takes off, which I really hope it does because we’ve been asking for it for years), Rocket League will be at the center of it. And that makes it not only a fun and addicting game about cars playing soccer, but also an extremely important game in terms of video game history.
And that is exciting.
What do you think? Does the fact that Rocket League is heralding an age of actual cross-platform gaming make it one of the most important games in recent history? Let us know in the comments!