Platform fighters have never stood in the same limelight or recognition of their more standard fighting game brethren, taking up a niche corner of the fighting game community, occupied and fueled by the gaming behemoth Super Smash Bros. and indies like Rivals of Aether, Slap City, Brawlhalla, etc. However, with the conclusion of Smash Ultimate guaranteed by its game director, Masahiro Sakurai, and a potential lack of anything Smash-related in the coming future, several publishers jumped at the chance to seize the vacuum Smash would be leaving behind. MultiVersus is Warner Bros’s answer to the platform-fighter question, featuring an ensemble cast of Warner Bros. icons and household names, like Bugs Bunny, Batman, and more.
With a solid-looking trailer and promising start for a new contender in the genre, here’s everything we know (and don’t) about Player First Games’ MultiVersus.
MultiVersus is Standard Platform Fighter Fare
As is the case with most platform fighters, MultiVersus will operate and play on a similar damage-percent to knockoff affair that other platform fighters like Smash Bros. and Rivals of Aether use. The higher your percent, the further you get knocked back. If you can’t make it back to the stage, you lose a life. Straightforward platform fighter business.
MultiVersus will have Solid Online
Fighting games as a whole are built upon the foundations of competing with other players, whether it be in a casual setting or a competitive leaderboard. As it requires players to connect with others to play, fighting games are made by their netcode, or broken by a lack thereof.
Fighting games prize precise inputs, positioning, and technical skills and therefore need a proper space to utilize those tools effectively. Poor online environments create poor matches, governed not by skill but by connectivity. That is why it is extremely pleasing to hear that MultiVersus will prioritize a strong online presence, touting dedicated servers from day one to ensure proper and well-connected matches thanks largely to rollback netcode. Many fighting games in recent years have turned to this netcode to provide as close to accurate matches between players.
Do you hear that Smash? That’s the sound of all your players’ wishes being unfulfilled.
MultiVersus features characters spanning generations of Warner Bros. history, including cartoons, TV shows, comic books, and more. As seen throughout the trailer, these characters have been brought to life with great attention to detail in animation, design, and full-fledged voice acting. Talent like Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, John DiMaggio will be reprising characters that fans will immediately recognize and love all over again.
While also paying respects to the legacy of these characters, Player First Games is also attentive to meme culture, bringing to life the Ultra Instinct, God-Tier level threat Shaggy, running no holds barred in designing his godly playstyle. Matthew Lillard returns as well for the 100% authentic Shaggy experience, complete with Scooby snacks.
Customizable Character Perks
Though not detailed by the trailer, a brief segment of the video revealed some rather interesting elements to character customization. On top of being able to pick out emotes and costumes for the playable character, players are also able to seemingly pick up and discard perks for their characters as well.
Coming in four different flavors (unique, offense, defense, and utility), players pick one from each category before duking it out with their foes. These perks have not been specified yet nor has it been detailed how exactly to obtain them. However, they seem to be related to the fighter icon (assassin, brawler, projectile, support, defense) related to each character, corresponding to that character’s playstyle. Undoubtedly, they will be crucial to effectively gimp, gank, and trump over your opponents.
Individual Character Progression
Briefly seen alongside the character perk selection screen in the trailer, you can see a glimpse of a leveling progression for characters (specifically Arya Stark). Leveling continuously awards players with upgrades to the character they’re using (like more perk slots), in-game currency, emotes, and more which we have not seen yet.
It doesn’t seem to operate on a battle pass and instead is tied to how much a player plays and levels the character they are using through experience, as evidenced by the daily challenge awards.
Continual Developer Support
As the standard should be with most online community-fighting games, the developers, Player First Games, will be constantly updating the game with modes, new characters, and events for players to partake in. Expect to see a lot more prominent and noteworthy WB characters making an appearance soon because the current roster is not final. We may see more characters teased before the actual game releases (fingers crossed for Sub-Zero and Scorpion). In the meantime, here’s the confirmed roster.
MultiVersus is placing a great deal of importance in setting up a competitively viable game that bars entry to none. It caters to players who like playing duos against other duos and solo-oriented players. MultiVerse also touts a guild system for like-minded and goal-oriented players to hone in and focus on.
With the number of ways to customize your characters, there seems to be an equal number of ways to play the exact way you want in MultiVersus.
Two Forms on In-Game Currency
MultiVersus is handing out two forms of earnable currency to players, one being the standard golden coins and the other is an undetailed, multi-colored gem, both located at the bottom left-hand side of the user interface. From how easily the players can earn the gold coins (which can be earned via leveling characters), the gems seem to be a more premium currency, probably bought with actual money.
As MultiVersus is a free-to-play game, there is no doubt that there will be microtransactions to fuel the game’s economy and generate revenue beyond player count and the like. How specifically each currency will be used has not yet been disclosed; they are most likely to be involved in obtaining costumes and new characters that will eventually be added to the game. It has also not been detailed whether there will be some sort of season or battle pass implemented, as is standard with most other free-to-play games on the market.
We hope the microtransactions don’t impact the playability of the game, turning this skill-based platform fighter into a pay-to-win extravaganza where a bigger wallet trumps mechanical skill.
Pace of the Game
Viewers with a keen eye will have noticed that the gameplay segments in the MultiVersus trailer played rather slow for a platform fighter. While most fighting games run at a fluid 60 frames-per-second, the gameplay featured ran at a fraction of that speed.
We believe this was done intentionally for the trailer to show off individual character quirks and animations and is not an accurate representation of how the game will actually run. When speeding up the gameplay footage to at least 1.25x its speed, the game was running at a pace more commonly seen in that of other fighters.
So, if you were worried that MultiVersus might be a slow-paced platformer, do not be alarmed. The game will most definitely run at the precise 60 FPS benchmarks that all other fighting games tout.
MultiVersus is slated for launch sometime in 2022 and will be free-to-play for everyone on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation systems.