Rocket League is going free-to-play in mid-September, and as Psyonix prepare the major update that will enable this, they’ve also confirmed that the game will no longer require a PlayStation Plus subscription on PlayStation or Nintendo Switch Online subscription in order to play online on those platforms. You will, however, still need Xbox Live Gold if you’re on Xbox One.
This is, of course, entirely in keeping with each platform’s policy on free-to-play games. Sony made and exception for free-to-play games at the start of the generation, ensuring that they don’t require a PS+ sub to let people hop online and play, and Nintendo followed suit when they launched Nintendo Switch Online. Microsoft, however, has been consistent in requiring Xbox Live Gold subs for all online play. We still hope that’s a policy the company reconsiders going into the next generation.
In addition to this, the update will merge the Rocket ID in-game friends list into the Epic Friends system, transferring them over to Epic’s unified cross-platform multiplayer system.
All of this is happening because Epic Games bought Psyonix last year. Since then, Epic have shifted the game’s monetisation model bit by bit to conform more closely with the one that they set out for Fortnite.
The update will also overhaul the tournaments and challenges in the game, unifying the schedule of Rocket Pass, Competitive Seasons and Tournaments throughout the game, and with Season 1 starting as the free-to-play update goes live. Existing players will have new ranks to aim for, the new highest competitive rank being Supersonic Legend, while newcomers will be greeted by a new tutorial that teaches the basic HUD, button layout and presents some New Driver Challenges to unlock items that were a part of the paid version of the game.
Speaking of which, let’s look back at our original review for Rocket League, in which Jim was full of praise.
Bar this one niggling issue, everything else about Rocket League is superb. Sure, Psyonix could have perhaps been a bit more daring yet the safe route has certainly paid off. With the foundation now set, hopefully the developer will start to experiment as it begins rolling out the first of its free content updates.
You can read the full Rocket League review here, but a lot has changed since then.