Among the many games that leaked in the weeks leading up to E3 was Roller Champions, a three vs. three competitive sport that combines roller skating with basketball in unique loop-shaped arenas. After this unfortunate early reveal, many were curious how Ubisoft would still make an impact with this title at its E3 press conference, particularly when it would be surrounded by larger-scale titles. Fortunately, in addition to revealing the game’s first trailer, Ubisoft was able to share at their briefing that the title would be hosting a free demo for the length of E3, putting it in the hands of players immediately after its official reveal.
Players can increase the score by ensuring their team gains possession of the ball, and then completing laps around the arena to build the amount of points that a scored ball can gain. Scored goals can count as one, three or five points based on the lap amounts, with five being the number necessary to achieve victory. If no team reaches five points in the seven minute time limit, the team with the most points at that time wins, while a tied score at that time goes to sudden death. While players can customize their character, the game will feature no upgrades, putting an emphasis on player skill and learning new tactics, such as pumping down slopes to improve and maintain momentum.
In a conversation with producer Luc St-Onge and creative director Gauthier Malou, the pair discussed how the team has put a large focus on making the player the star, bringing in the large crowds and bright lights to truly make the competitors and the game feel larger than life. In addition to referencing aerial dogfighting as an inspiration for the gameplay, Malou referenced the excitement of watching an expert pinball player, where even if the viewer might not know every single mechanic that helps the pinball player do well, the bright lights and loud noises caused by the stellar play can still bring a certain level of excitement on both sides. When asked about esports, the paid didn’t rule it out, but suggested that player involvement would ultimately be the key factor that decides the need for larger-scale competitive events.
While the time for the pre-alpha demo may be nearing its end, Roller Champions will ultimately be a free-to-play title when it launches, with a release window and platforms beyond PC yet to be confirmed.