In the year 2004, just after Psyonix wrapped up work on Unreal Tournament 2004, they began to experiment with the concept of vehicles in video games.
They were keen on the idea of creating something that had more capabilities than an average vehicle in the industry, and they enjoyed the concept of aerial control. Thus they began to experiment with, what Dave Hagewood, studio head at Psyonix described as "an almost Tony Hawk system, with tricks and all."
Thanks to their experimentation, they happened upon a "soccer mode" which proved so addictive, Hagewood later confessed that the developers "were having trouble getting people to focus on actually developing the game." This was the beginning of Super Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars.
A Small, Long-worded Beginning
Super Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars was released to generally average review scores on the Playstation network in 2008, however it was downloaded over 2 million times and acquired a decent fan base. Psyonix supported the game for the next few months as they fixed a number of its bugs and performance issues, but the team were gearing up for a more refined product.
2011 was the start of what we now know as Rocket League, the 2015 Best Indie Game award-winner and a title that has generated over 50 million dollars in profits. The Psyonix team worked on games like X-COM: Enemy Unknown and Mass Effect 3 during these years to make enough money to get by. But all their spare time was invested into Rocket League and their efforts have paid off beautifully.
But this success story is far from over.
Rocket League & Esports
As it stands, Rocket League has over 8 million registered players and a thriving online community. Some within this community have dedicated hundreds of hours to the game and all of that practice may pay off in a big way in the future.
"We're really excited about the prospects [of esports] and the fact that people really latched onto our game. We never went in with the intention of specifically being a successful esport. We knew we had the chops for it, that we had the groundwork, but it's all about the community and players and whether they deem you worthy of being one."
Speaking on a podcast with Larry Hryb, Jeremy Dunham said that Rocket League's progression into an esports title is something that they still can't fully disclose.
"As we're talking about this there are certain things afoot that we can't quite discuss yet. We think they're going to be very good for the game going forward in general and trying to expand ourselves into esports further."
Now that Rocket League has been released for the XBOX One, almost every major platform can enjoy the chaos of one of 2015's best games (if not THE best). Think you're good at Rocket League and want to try out for esports competitions? Then get practicing and wait for more news from Psyonix.