Ubisoft made Roller Champions official during its presentation at E3 2019, after details about the game leaked back in May.
Roller Champions is a roller derby-inspired game — which also reminds us a bit of the game in Alita: Battle Angel (albeit with a lot less violence) — in which two groups of three players race around a track, trying to keep possession of a ball. The more laps your team skates around holding the ball, the more points you get when ultimately tossing it through the ring. But the lap counter resets if the opposing team is able to knock your team members down to grab the ball.
The game has a Rocket League vibe, with a focus on low-scoring rounds with a heavy emphasis on skill. In our time with the demo, the rhythm of movement in particular — accelerating up the curved edges and then ducking to gain speed — felt reminiscent of the instinctual maneuvering skills you learn over time with Rocket League. The passing system, meanwhile, never quite connected with our team — rather, we found it easier to just lob the ball across the way and call out (via voice chat) to keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, decking people when you don’t have possession of the ball, be it offense or defense, is incredibly satisfying.
The game is free-to-play, with the monetization most likely coming from the purchase of cosmetic items to help your character stand out from the crowd. The press release mentioned you can create your own character and customize their gear, as well as your fans’ outfits and group animations.
Roller Champions is scheduled to be released in 2020, but a demo has already been released so players can give it a shot until June 14, at least on the PC. We’ll know exactly what platforms will be getting the game at a later date, with only the PC release being confirmed at this point.
This is a unique idea for a multiplayer game, and it’s neat that players will get a chance to play it so quickly after learning about its existence. We’ll have more information about Roller Champions after we’re able to give it a try for ourselves.