It’s a sad day when a cool multiplayer game shuts off its servers forever. It’s an even sadder day when that game is still so new that it may win an award just days before it’s scheduled to die.
Such is the case of Rumbleverse, the free-to-play battle royale brawler developed by Iron Galaxy and published by Epic Games. Rumbleverse came out just six months ago in August 2022, and on February 28, Iron Galaxy is shutting it down. That makes its nominations for best fighting game and best online game (opens in new tab) at tomorrow’s annual DICE awards a little bittersweet.
DICE nominations were revealed back in January, just two weeks before Iron Galaxy announced Rumbleverse’s end of service. In the month since, the developer has been issuing complete refunds to everyone who spent money on the game and made its last battle pass free to all players. Meanwhile, Rumbleverse is up for two DICE awards, facing off against the likes of MultiVersus and King of Fighters 15 in the fighting game category and FF14, Modern Warfare 2, and Marvel Snap in the online game category. I imagine its imminent demise will hurt its chances of winning.
The story of Rumbleverse has become morbidly routine for live service games in the 2020s—the shutdown announcement, the refunds, the heartfelt thank you to loyal players (opens in new tab)—but as games that barely even got started are now being killed off, it sure feels like the service game boom has fizzled out.
The life expectancy of a good multiplayer game with a meager audience has never been shorter. Knockout City (opens in new tab), another standout multiplayer game that we liked, barely made it two years (opens in new tab) before calling it quits.
Rumbleverse showed real promise (opens in new tab), but it had few major things working against it too. As an Epic-published game, it was only available on the Epic Games Store, a storefront that I only visit to launch Fortnite or add free games to my library. None of my friends know Rumbleverse exists, but they might if it appeared on their Steam recommended feed. It also didn’t help that Rumbleverse looks so much like Fortnite that it fails to stand out in a lineup.
Of course, a 3D platformer fighting game with attack priorities and zero guns was never going to have a Fortnite-sized audience. For as long as big-budget shooters and MOBAs have attracted millions of daily players, smaller, more unique multiplayer games have attracted hundreds or thousands of dedicated players. It used to be enough for smaller games to have smaller audiences, but not so much anymore.
If you’d like to try the twice-DICE-nominated Rumbleverse before it goes away, you have until February 28.
We are so honored and humbled by the news that the @Official_AIAS has nominated @Rumbleverse for two DICE Awards, including Fighting Game of the Year and Online Game of the Year. See you at the show! pic.twitter.com/5T11rrAnMzJanuary 13, 2023