In news that comes potentially far later than expected, Sony has announced that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale will lose online functionality on Oct. 25.
Released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Vita, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was Sony’s ill-conceived answer to Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers franchise. The concept of the game was brilliant on paper, taking popular characters like Kratos, Donte, Nathan Drake and Cole McGrath and pitting them against one another using an engine that sought to be more like a serious fighting game compared to Smash, but the end product was far from ideal.
Ask anyone who played the game during its heyday and you’ll be sure to hear horror stories such as poor balancing and a persistent bug that forced players to use characters they didn’t actually choose while online (even during ranked matches). But perhaps its greatest weakness was the fact that the game didn’t actually deliver on its core promise: featuring the all-stars from various PlayStation platforms. There was no Crash Bandicoot or Spyro or even Abe (though, to be fair, he was planned as DLC); instead featuring characters from one-off titles such as Emmett from Starhawk and Nariko from Heavenly Sword.
To its credit, the developers (originally Superbot Entertainment and later Santa Monica Studio) did put some effort into re-balancing everything, but what the game really needed was a complete overhaul (think Diablo 3) due to how inherently flawed it was. And now, following this announcement, it is abundantly clear this time will never come.
It’s a shame too, because more than anything else, it just feels like the game came out too soon. Between the lack of actual PlayStation all-stars and poor approach to combat, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a product that simply needed more time to cook. A 2012 PSASBR was found wanting in many areas, but one in 2018 that had some time to stew — especially with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro active — could have been a hit.
Oh well, hopefully Sony and Santa Monica Studio has another go at it someday.