Rocket Arena, the third-person hero shooter published by EA in 2020, has vanished from the gaming scene without much notice. To the surprise of many, the game is no longer available for purchase on Steam or the EA store. Both EA and Final Strike Games, the developers of Rocket Arena, have remained tight-lipped about the reasons behind its delisting. The only indication of its impending departure was an inconspicuous mention from EA a few days prior, announcing that Rocket Arena would be removed from the game subscription service EA Play on November 14th. However, this announcement did not cover the removal from sale or the shutdown of its online services. Perhaps a hint at the approaching end was the lack of updates since September 2021, after four seasons of additional content failed to attract a substantial player base.
Rocket Arena, for many players, evokes memories of a series of Quake mods that traded hitscan weapons for the elegance of slow-moving projectiles and acrobatic gameplay. However, the EA Originals’ Rocket Arena had a different approach, with rockets dominating its arsenal. The game’s unique feature was the damage mechanic, where damage would accumulate rather than subtracting from players’ health. When a player’s damage reached critical levels, a single hit would eject them from the arena. Surviving in Rocket Arena heavily relied on mastering the game’s third-person dodge movement. Sin, a player who tried the game before its release, expressed admiration for this innovative damage model, noting how it added a new level of tension and excitement to each encounter. The thrill of watching the damage counter rise and the crucial pursuit of landing that final hit made for intense gameplay moments.
While Rocket Arena’s disappearance may leave a void in the gaming landscape, its developers have already transitioned to other projects. Final Strike Games has embarked on the development of an “unannounced new IP.” Additionally, they have been actively involved in providing “live services support” to Fortnite, even contributing to the recent revival of Fortnite’s original map. The team’s dedication to these endeavors suggests a shift in focus and a desire to explore new opportunities in the gaming industry.
It is disheartening to witness the silent departure of a multiplayer game, particularly without an opportunity for a proper farewell or redemption arc. Rocket Arena’s fate serves as a reminder that even with regular content updates and unique gameplay elements, success in the highly competitive gaming market is never guaranteed. The absence of a thriving player base and a perceived lack of interest may have contributed to its ultimate demise.
Rocket Arena’s removal from sale and subsequent disappearance highlights the challenges faced by multiplayer games in maintaining relevance and engagement. While it may no longer be available for purchase, Rocket Arena’s brief existence and its novel take on damage mechanics will not be forgotten by those who experienced its fleeting moments. As the gaming industry evolves and player preferences shift, Rocket Arena serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a dedicated community and consistently adapting to meet their expectations.
In the end, Rocket Arena’s departure is a stark reminder of the transient nature of gaming, where titles can rise and fall without warning. It is a testament to the ever-changing landscape and the need for developers to remain agile and responsive to the demands of their player base. As Rocket Arena fades into obscurity, its legacy will reside in the memories of those who reveled in its unique gameplay mechanics and shared moments of triumph and defeat within its rocket-filled arenas.