Knockout City‘s days are numbered, but for Velan Studios, there’s still a strong sense of optimism. Though the live-service PvP dodgeball game nears its second anniversary on May 21, it’ll only exist in its current state for another few weeks beyond that. In a February blog post, Velan revealed that Knockout City will be taken offline on June 6, with the silver-lining exception being that Velan will enable private servers to be hosted on PC thereafter.
The news came as the latest in a series of live-service game closures that defined January 2023, and looking back a few years proves this was no one-month trend. It’s getting harder to stay afloat in the competitive and ever-changing world of live-service video games. As Knockout City is a personal favorite of mine, the news hit me like, well, a dodgeball to the face. I wanted to speak to the team to find out what it’s like when a game you love working on is ending on the market’s terms rather than your own. Though those I spoke to admitted there is a sadness to the situation, they weren’t without hope for what’s next, both within Velan and across the industry–even if it’ll take a paradigm shift to get things where they need to be.
“This is my favorite game I’ve ever worked on,” game director Jeremy Russo told me. “And it’s also one of my favorite games I’ve ever played. Like, I still play this. And if you talk to most developers, none of them play their own game. But I still have a blast logging in and playing with my friends, grouping up, and going into these brawls.”