MultiVersus
Batman and Shaggy standing back-to-back, ready to fight, with other characters in the background
Key art featuring most of the initial character roster
Developer(s)Player First Games
Publisher(s)Warner Bros. Games
Director(s)Tony Huynh[1]
Composer(s)
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)
ReleaseEarly 2024
Genre(s)Fighting
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

MultiVersus is an upcoming free-to-play crossover fighting game developed by Player First Games and published by Warner Bros. Games for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. The game features characters from Warner Bros. Entertainment franchises.

Officially announced in November 2021 following online rumors and leaks,[2] early access and open beta versions of the game ran from July 2022 to June 2023. The full launch of the game is scheduled for an early 2024 release.[3]

Gameplay

MultiVersus is a platform fighter, with players battling on different stages and attempting to knock the opponent beyond the stage's boundary by dealing sufficient damage.[4][5][6] While 1-vs-1 and free-for-all options are available, the game emphasizes battling in teams of two characters;[7] most attacks in the game are designed with this in mind, including other players passively strengthening the move's effect.

MultiVersus features a perk system, which allows players to customize their characters with passive abilities that will also affect their partners in Teams. These include Signature Perks, which are exclusive to a respective character and directly affect their attributes and abilities. If players in the same team equip the same perks, those perks' effects are enhanced.

Currencies and Season Pass

MultiVersus features two currencies: Gold, which is primarily used to purchase characters and train perks; and Gleamium, a premium currency that can be used to buy variants, taunts, banners, and Premium Season Passes in addition to characters. Gold is obtained by normally playing the game through various means, while Gleamium is purchasable with real-world currencies. During certain events, specific tokens can be earned by playing in any mode and playing with specific character variants doubles the amount. These currencies can be used to purchase cosmetic items or, in the case of candy during the Monster Mash event, traded for Gold, with 10 Gold for every 500 candy units.

The Season Pass contains two tiers: Normal, which is free for all players; and Premium, which requires Gleamium to purchase. In both tiers, players earn points by completing daily and seasonal missions. Obtainable items include gold, toast and cosmetics such as banners and ring-out effects. Progress in both tiers is tied; if the Premium tier is purchased after progress is made on the Normal tier, all rewards will retroactively be obtained.

Playable characters

As of November 2022, MultiVersus features 23 playable characters.[8] With one exception, Reindog, these characters originate from the intellectual properties of Warner Bros. Discovery. Voice acting is prominently emphasized, and several voice actors reprise their respective roles from other media. Characters can be any one of five classes—Assassin, Bruiser, Mage, Support, and Tank[9]—and are best suited for covering a specific direction, these being horizontal, vertical, or hybrid.[9]

Every character has at least one playable variant, some of which have different voice actors or dialogue from the default variant. Characters can be unlocked through gameplay, or purchased using gold, Gleamium, or Character Tickets included with the Founder's Pack content packages; four specific characters are also playable for all users on a rotating basis.[10][11] The open beta initially launched with 17 characters, with new characters regularly introduced in subsequent updates.

Overview of characters in MultiVersus
Franchise Character Class Voice actor Release date
Adventure Time Finn the Human[6] Assassin Jeremy Shada July 19, 2022
(Early access)
Jake the Dog[6] Bruiser John DiMaggio
DC Universe Batman[6] Bruiser Kevin Conroy
Black Adam[12][13] Bruiser Bob Carter October 31, 2022
(Season 1)
Harley Quinn[6] Assassin Tara Strong July 19, 2022
(Early access)
Superman[6] Tank George Newbern
Wonder Woman[6] Tank Abby Trott
Game of Thrones Arya Stark[6] Assassin Maisie Williams
Gremlins Gizmo[14] Support Daniel Ross September 8, 2022
(Season 1)
Stripe[13] Assassin October 12, 2022
(Season 1)
The Iron Giant Iron Giant[15] Tank Jonathan Lipow July 19, 2022
(Early access)
Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny[6] Mage Eric Bauza
Marvin the Martian Assassin November 21, 2022
(Season 2)
Taz[15] Bruiser Jim Cummings July 19, 2022
(Early access)
Player First Games Reindog[16] Support Andrew Frankel[N 1]
Rick and Morty Morty Smith[17] Bruiser Justin Roiland[N 2] August 23, 2022
(Season 1)
Rick Sanchez[17][18] Mage September 27, 2022
(Season 1)
Scooby-Doo Velma Dinkley[15] Support Kate Micucci July 19, 2022
(Early access)
Shaggy Rogers[1] Bruiser Matthew Lillard
Space Jam: A New Legacy LeBron James[17] Bruiser John Eric Bentley July 26, 2022
(Open beta)
Steven Universe Garnet[1] Bruiser Estelle July 19, 2022
(Early access)
Steven Universe[1] Support Daniel DiVenere
Tom and Jerry Tom and Jerry[1] Mage Eric Bauza[N 3]

Development

The trailer for MultiVersus.

The game is developed by Player First Games.[2][5][6] Dedicated servers, rollback netcode, and voice acting have been promoted as prominent features, and the team intend to release new content and characters via constant updates.[7] The game held a closed alpha test from February 25–March 8, 2022.[19]

Background

Prior to its announcement in November 2021, rumors of the game surfaced from multiple sources.[7] Initially, a user on the subreddit r/GamingLeaksandRumours claimed that the game was in development as early as 2019 following the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Warner Bros.' acknowledgement of the Ultra Instinct Shaggy internet meme. The user also claimed that the idea of a crossover influenced the filming of Space Jam: A New Legacy,[20][21] although the validity of these claims is uncertain.

On October 27, 2021, professional Super Smash Bros. player Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma shared an image on Twitter showing what he alleged was the character selection screen for MultiVersus.[22] The image was deleted after Warner Bros. submitted a DMCA takedown request, which DeBiedma stated was a "hard confirm" of the photograph's veracity.[23][24] The image included Gandalf and Rick Sanchez as playable characters in place of Arya Stark and Garnet, and Superman and Steven Universe's designs were updated to be shown in the trailer. Jeff Grubb, a gaming insider, confirmed that LeBron James would feature in the game.[25] Internal game design documents for the game were leaked on ResetEra.[26][27][28] Following the tech test, gameplay footage was leaked online.[29]

On May 26, 2022, a subsequent leak revealed additional playable characters, including Daenerys Targaryen, Ted Lasso, Morty Smith, and Marvin the Martian.[30]

Early access and open beta

An early access version was released on July 19 for participants of selected events, including the game's closed playtests and those competing in the game's first 2v2 tournament at the 2022 Evolution Championship Series, and via Twitch's Drops reward system and purchasable founder's packs.[31] During the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con event, Rick Sanchez, Morty Smith, and LeBron James were announced as playable characters.[32] The open beta was released on July 26, 2022, serving as a soft launch for the game.[33][34] Throughout the open beta, a Founder's Pack paid-DLC was sold through Steam, the Epic Games Store, the Microsoft Store, and the PlayStation Store. It was available in Standard, Deluxe, and Premium editions.[35]

During the open beta, Bugs Bunny players held the number-one ranked slot in both 1-v-1 and 2-v-2 leaderboards.[36] The character's prevalence among top-ranked 2-v-2 players was notable,[36] leading to changes to Bugs' abilities and those of Wonder Woman implemented after EVO 2022.[37][38]

MultiVersus' first season was originally scheduled to launch on August 9, 2022, but was delayed to August 15.[39][40] The game's second and final season during open beta launched on November 15.[41]

On March 27, 2023, the open beta was announced to be ending on June 25, 2023, and the full version of the game is scheduled to be released in early 2024. This was despite the developer's previous promise when the open beta launched, having stated "MultiVersus hits Open Beta on July 26th and then we’re here to stay."[42] Offline functionality was retained during the downtime, but the game was made unobtainable for new players.[43]

Patches

During the open beta, various characters' abilities were frequently modified.[44] A notable instance is one of Velma Dinkley's abilities; the police car featured in that move was replaced with the Mystery Machine.[45]

Reception

The game received generally positive reviews during its open beta. IGN wrote "MultiVersus may not be a must-play at social gatherings, but its refreshing team-based battles make it a great platform fighter online." Play summarized that it was "full of love for the characters, and crunchy to play, you owe it to yourself to give this a go – though the monetisation methods are off-putting."

Its launch on Steam was the most successful for a WB Games title, and the biggest launch for a fighting game released on the platform.[54]

The game topped the American sales charts for July 2022,[55] falling to number 5 the following month.[56] It was the most downloaded game on the US PlayStation Store for the same month, and number 2 in Europe.[57] It also topped the sales charts in Australia.[58] It was the most popular title on the Steam Deck platform.[59]

By August 2022, the game had reached 10 million players.[60] By September, it had reached 20 million.[61] By February 2023, the game experienced a significant drop in daily players, which a Kotaku article attributed to a lack of updates and new characters.[62] Trackers for the Windows version reported roughly 1,300 players in the last 30 days, marking the title's lowest player count since launch.[63] The announcement of the closure of the open beta surprised players who believed that the game was already fully released and had paid for premium content.[62][64]

Accolades for MultiVersus
Year Award Category Result Ref.
2022 Golden Joystick Awards Best Multiplayer Game Nominated [65]
The Game Awards 2022 Best Multiplayer Game Nominated [66]
Best Fighting Game Won
2023 26th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Fighting Game of the Year Won [67][68]

Notes

  1. ^ Unused
  2. ^ Via archived dialogue
  3. ^ Ring-outs only

References

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