Contributed by Alex Ashcroft
Back in November 2012, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale was released for Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. It received a mixed reception, garnering an 8/10 from IGN.com, a 6.5/10 from Gamespot and won awards (namely IGNs People’s Choice Award). Whether or not you see it as a critical or commercial success, the true success was in terms of the community.
The community first kicked off, as many do, when the game was first announced in April 2012. Among the first characters announced were Kratos (from the well known God of War series), Sweet Tooth (from Twisted Metal), and Mael Radec (from Killzone 2). Seeing such iconic Playstation characters battling it out, fueled fans into creating their own theories about who would or would not appear in the game’s release. To this day, players are still craving those that were left out (I’m looking at you Crash Bandicoot and Dart).
As with many fighting games, the community has been vitally important. Numerous combos not listed in the tutorials were discovered, giving some characters a huge advantage over others. It was also responsible for transforming some characters fighting techniques into a work of art, rather than a brutal, blunt instrument of a fighter. Dante (from the 2013 Devil May Cry reboot) is a prime example of this. His unique fighting style allows him to cancel some of his moves into others, akin to his origin game. Months after release, players found a technique called the ‘Empty Cancel’ that allowed Dante to cancel his moves so quickly that it enabled very long combos. Whilst some parts of the community disagreed with its existence, developer – Superbot – eventually replied that they were very impressed with this discovery and decided to leave it in the game and throughout future patches.
Sadly, in July 2013 Sony cut all ties with All-Stars creators Superbot. This poured cold water on the fiery hopes of the community, as it cancelled any further DLC chances the game had. After the release of 4 extra characters, it was revealed that Dart (from Legend of Dragoon) was modeled and textured before being cancelled, and that there were several stages that combined Journey and Gravity Rush. A huge twitter campaign was started called ‘Release Dart’. Whilst ultimately unsuccessful, this proved that the community had a strong voice, and wasn’t going to be ignored.
This theme continued for months. Seemingly out of the blue, Sony announced that they were to begin work on the ‘Ultimate Balance Patch’ after realizing the commitment players had to All-Stars. This was announced in mid 2013 and was released spring 2014. The main theme coming from Sony was that they were extremely impressed with the constant fan support, and they were going to continue to support this game as a form of reward. Extra PSN avatars were released and Sony has stated that more avatars and patches may follow.
From a competitive perspective, the brawler scene is dominated by Super Smash Bros. Every EVO for the past several years has had Super Smash Bros as a main event. No one ever had much hope that All-Stars would ever make it to that level. In May 2014, after a lengthy effort by user ‘Bam’, EVO accepted All-Stars into the event. Whilst this is not a main event, it is still a huge step forward for the community. EVO takes place 11th-13th of July, so keep an eye out for All-Stars! Check this link for details!
Even to this day, more and more character techniques are discovered and continuing discussions can always be found. New members are welcomed with open arms, and critics are persuaded to give it a chance. This may be from a biased source, as I am a active community member, but whilst Battle Royale is in the same genre as Smash Bros this game has attempted to be different from its peers by taking a different approach on the brawler genre and that isn’t to be discredited. I’m always amazed at the continuing fan support that this game attracts. During the 2013 forum reduction by Sony, it was revealed that the All-Stars sub section was one of the most popular sections from the entire forum! You can find the Official Playstation forum here.
Whilst the chance of a sequel is slim, Shuhei Yoshida himself stated ‘never say never’, hoping that there is a future for the game. So keep those hopes up guys, and don’t take no for an answer, it just might pay off.