“Rocket Arena,” debuting July 14, is a new multi-player shooter game unrelated to the mega-popular “Fortnite” — but many called out the art style, font and rapid-fire playing style as similar.
“I think it’s flattering that people say that. But I also think it’s important for us to to say that we really believe that this is its own thing,” said Jonas Norberg, executive producer at Final Strike Games, the indie studio behind “Rocket Arena,” which will be available for Xbox, PlayStation 4 and PC with cross-platform play possible.
This is Final Strike’s first game, and the studio insists that the game is based on an original idea. The developers say they learned from the success of current games like “Fortnite,” “Super Smash Bros” and “Rocket League,” but that the gameplay is different.
Also, in “Rocket Arena,” there is no death, though there are knockouts.
Unlike dying in other games, which can happen quickly and punishes users with a time-out and sometimes loss of progress, in “Rocket Arena” players can work to prevent getting knocked out, using their rockets to shoot at the ground and stay afloat within the game’s boundaries. Aiming at an opponent doesn’t injure them, but it makes them more likely to fly out of the ring, just like in Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros.”
“[The origin] was actually a very organic process,” said Gregg Metzler, “Rocket Arena” lead designer. “I remember hearing a comment: ‘I really like playing your game, but I just keep dying. The design that came out of that was, well what if we made a game where no one dies?”
Still, like “Fortnite,” “Rocket Arena” feels kid-friendly and cartoonish with tons of color projectiles darting by and . There’s no specific target demographic, according to Final Strike, which wants to appeal to the broadest possible audience for the game.
CNN Business played the game and found one of the characters, Rev, to be particularly easy and fun to whiz through the skies with, sending enemies flying off the map with a few well-aimed rockets.
Final Strike appears to have taken notes, as “Rocket Arena” is slated for frequent updates after launch.
“We try to gather as much information as we can from other games, but in the end, every game is different so we really focus on providing the value for players,” Mike Kerr, another Final Strike executive producer, said of the update strategy.
The studio also carefully planned its business model, which focuses on the $29.99 baseline price, a battle pass that unlocks more rewards and in-game purchases for additional cosmetics.
“Rocket Arena” will also launch with a competitive “ranked” mode available, which could open up the possibility of the game becoming an e-sport down the line.
“We’re listening to the audience that we have now, and as we go live, we’re going to continue to listen to the audience,” said Kerr. “Once we can get people into that gameplay, we feel pretty confident they’re gonna love it, and hopefully we can build a great community out of it.”