Knockout City is going offline forever this summer.
The PvP multiplayer dodgeball game, which launched under the EA Originals banner in 2021, will no longer be playable as of June 6, 2023. A PC-only “private server version”, however, will allow the game to “live on forever”.
Developer Velan Studios explained in a lengthy blog post the decision to pull the game, citing the challenge of an indie studio sustaining a live service as well as a need to significantly grow its player base to survive.
Part of the blog post reads: “Creating such a different game with no points of comparison and running live services for the first time in many of our careers has also made the past couple years particularly challenging.
“Despite over 12 million players and billions of KOs around the globe, there are several aspects of the game in need of major disruption to better attract and retain enough players to be sustainable. Since we are a small, indie studio, it’s simply impossible for us to make those kinds of systemic changes in the live game while continuing to support it.”
The post continued: “So it became clear to us that we needed to take a step back and pave the way for Velan to do what we do best by innovating. Now we can take everything we learned, everything that succeeded and everything that needs improvement, and get to work on exploring new possible experiences for Knockout City and other games and products we are very excited about.
“We’re currently in the process of doing a comprehensive retrospective on every aspect of the game, all the community feedback and analytics data, and even our development processes.”
The team concluded: “Our hope is that sometime in the not-too-distant future, all this information can be used to start work on what comes next in the Knockout City universe. While we can’t promise that Knockout City will be back, what we can promise is that you’ll continue to see new and innovative games from Velan Studios that will surprise and delight players around the world.”
It was also revealed that Knockout City’s final installment, season nine, will still proceed as normal on February 28.
The 12-week season will feature six back-to-back events, each going on for two weeks. On that same day, all real-money transactions will be removed from the game.
During the game’s bow-out, a final Premium Brawl Pass will cost just ¢50 by comparison to the $10 (£8.18) versions seen in previous seasons.
A final two-week farewell event called ‘Thanks for the KOs’ kicks off on May 23.
Last year, Knockout City moved to a free-to-play model and became a self-published game at Velan as the studio and Electronic Arts parted ways mutually.
In NME‘s four-star review of Knockout City, Alan Martin said that the game “may look like a generic shooter with a dodgeball twist, but Knockout City is perfectly balanced and incredibly moreish”.
Despite noting that some people may be “put off by the visuals”, Martin praised the “tense game of cat and mouse” premise for being “oddly compelling”.