When Ubisoft announced Roller Champions with great fanfare and a public alpha test at E3 2019 but only a few months later announced a delay and went a bit quiet, I thought it might join the ranks of their many seemingly-dead games. But those forgotten games are on: Gods & Monsters is due in December (even if it has a daft new name), the space game teased in Watch Dogs 2 is out next month, Ubi even swear Skull & Bones is still happening, and now they've announced Roller Champions 'rolly' (really) will launch in 2021. It's a bit like roller derby mixed with basketball, or Rollerball without the motorbikes.
"It's been way too long, hasn't it?" says product manager Stephane Drapeau in a new video. "But I think I know what you want to know, and heck, I am happy to oblige: Roller Champions is coming early 2021." It was previously due in early 2020 but well. The futuresport is still meant to be free-to-play, last I heard.
Like roller derby, Roller Champions has teams zooming laps around a ring, dodging and tackling and blocking. Except it's also a ballsport, where you need to shoot into hoops and can pass the ball around your team. Matt Cox (RPS in peace) tried Roller Champions at E3 last year with, ah, not a great deal of success - but real triumph.
"By the 25th minute of our last game, each team had only ever managed to do one full lap before having the ball wrested from them. By the 27th minute, due to a a series of terrible shots and failed passes where we just about managed to keep control, I was skating up to the hoop with the ball in hand. I passed to my pal, moments before being tackled to the ground. My pal passed once more, avoiding the same fate – and then finally, FINALLY, our third teammate scored. We erupted.
"I laughed aloud again, typing that out. It was joyful in a way I can't properly convey, and I'm positive I'll never be able to replicate. When Roller Champions comes out next year I won't be able to warmly shake the hands of my opponents as we all struggle to stop giggling."
Best played if you and your pals punch each other in the head before each match so you forget how to play, maybe. If it supports solo matchmaking, slamming your head in the door might do it.
Ahead of today's Ubisoft Forward stream, company CEO Yves Guillemot apologised to the people they didn't protect, among other controversies.