A cursory Google Trends search shows that the term Rocket League 2 was searched well over a thousand times in the past year. Considering the player base typically averages over 100,000 people per month, it’s no surprise that fans are interested in a sequel. However, we argue that Rocket League is already the best game it can be. Any changes or shifts from the formula could potentially ruin what is one of the best competitive video games on the market.
For the uninitiated, Rocket League is football played with cars. These matches take place in small arenas and typically feature six opponents going head-to-head split into two teams of three. Psyonix fitted each car with boost propellers, which can be plenished from pads on the arena floor.
Rocket League is a fast-paced game of football that requires quick reactions, clever positioning and excellent ball control. What makes it so fun is that it has an incredibly wide skill pool, meaning there’s a level of competitive play for anyone who wants to try it. Rocket League’s success so far results from incredibly easy to pick up, but almost impossible to master gameplay.
The ongoing success has not only ensured the game’s long-term appeal, but Psyonix has announced a spin-off project for mobile will release later this year. The competitive automotive football title will also get a mobile port at some point in 2021. With the team flexing its creative muscle on new projects, we can’t help but wonder if a sequel is in the works. Honestly though, we think Rocket League is perfect as it is.
Rocket League is already an evolution
There may not be number two after it, but Rocket League is technically a sequel. Psyonix built it on the legacy of a previous title, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars or SARP Battle-Cars for short. Alongside having a ridiculously long name, SARP Battle-Cars is like Rocket League, but not as good.
Many of the same elements are there, including rocket-powered cars, tight arenas and online multiplayer. However, SARP Battle-Cars isn’t anywhere near as polished as Rocket League. For example, the ball cam - a pivotal element of Rocket League’s game design - is not reliable or as smooth in SARP Battle-Cars. General car movement, including the air dodge which is key to hitting the ball in the air, is also off.
All the elements that make Rocket League so enjoyable are not present in SARP Battle-Cars. However, the foundation of what makes it so great is definitely on show. You can see where Psyonix adapted and improved the formula to make it what it is now. Rocket league is the hit it us because of crucial features like text chat, ranked multiplayer, customisation elements and improved physics,
It is for this reason that Rocket League already feels like an evolution of something else. SARPA Battle-Cars' legacy led and influnced the development of Rocket League.
You can’t perfect, perfection
Rocket League’s vanilla three-on-three competitive matches are the most distilled vision of what the game is . By adding or taking away from that, you start to lose what makes the game so special. We all enjoy the occasional match of Rumble or Dropshot, but they simply do not compare to Rocket League’s most basic matches.
Building a sequel would be tough, because how do you advance a formula that already feels perfected? And yeah, Psyonix could focus on releasing Rocket League 2 with better graphics, but that isn’t what the series is about. When gameplay is so pivotal to the core experience, graphics often become redundant. Heck, there’s a community of players who play with the graphics turned all the way down, just so they can squeeze a few extra frames out of their PC.
Moving towards spin-offs and additional ports is definitely the right move for Psyonix. The upcoming Rocket League Side-Swiped looks an outstanding example of how the series can be experimented with, without shifting things forward.
Who knows if Psyonix is working on a Rocket League 2. But for now at least, Rocket League is already the perfect game.