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Just in time to help you beat the upcoming Summer heat, Ubisoft has released its newest all-original game, Roller Champions. Part roller derby, part ball-in-goal sport, and loads of fun, this free-to-play team game blends lots of elements to create a new genre for the competitive scene.
It’s a refreshingly vibrant team game that has familiar components, but is ultimately a unique experience thanks to the ability to get creative with skill based play. Each team of three players will race, tackle, pass, and shoot to victory while using speed and the verticality of each track for limitless strategies.
I’ve been enjoying my matches in Roller Champions because overall it’s an easy game to pick up. Everyone has the same abilities so the opportunities to “sway the tides of battle” are equal for every player, making for some epic moments as we all scramble for the ball. Speed and momentum are your friend, and I’ve had matches end as quickly as 15 seconds — skate 3 laps and score a goal — but have also battled it out to the end with a low final score because everyone was so good at defense.
And as players get more familiar with the gameplay mechanics, I can definitely see some pros rising out of the ranks, utilizing techniques we’ve never even thought about. And that’s the beauty of the game — there’s no right or wrong way to play it, and no match is ever the same as the one before it.
Of course, character customization, unlocking emotes and accessing new arenas are a large component of the fun too. You’ll earn fans and wheels (in-game currency), which you can use to unlock a variety of cosmetic gear and victory poses to make your character an expression of yourself.
Meet the Creators of Roller Champions
The talented and creative minds behind Roller Champions set out to not only invent a new sporting experience, but also to develop a culturally rich world where everyone can have fun together. And thanks to Ubisoft, I had an opportunity to learn more about the inspiration behind Roller Champions through an interview with Joel Dos Reis Viegas, Roller Champions Art Director, and Juliana Goriounov, Roller Champions Game Designer.
Slickdeals: Roller Champions is so vibrant and festive! What type of visual experience were you aiming for when creating the overall style of the game?
Joel Dos Reis Viegas, Art Director: I wanted to recreate the same experience when I was playing Arcade games in my youth. When I joined the project 4 years ago, I was playing a lot of Splatoon 2 and Arms. These games perfectly captured this vibe from the past but in a new, modern way, and I wanted to make my own version of it. I’ve tried to add my passion for Animation and Graphic design in Roller Champions and here we go 🙂
Slickdeals: Each location feels timeless and global (as if we’re citizens of the world) — where did you look for inspiration and influences when designing each arena?
Joel Dos Reis Viegas, Art Director: I got inspired by real-life stadiums from all over the world but I wanted to add a layer of fantasy on top of it. For season 0, we wanted to do a tribute to Latin America where Rollerskating has been a big influence. The Mayans invented a sport called Pok ta Pok about 3,000 years ago that influenced Roller Champions. Chichen Itza Stadium is a direct homage to it.
Slickdeals: In terms of gameplay, Roller Champions is easy to pick up, and I imagine difficult to master. What were some key elements that you focused on so that beginners as well as pros can enjoy the game together?
Juliana Goriounov, Game Designer: Roller Champions was designed to be very approachable, hence it was important for us to deliver an experience that lets players feel empowered and have fun right from their very first moments of playing the game. At the same time, we designed Roller Champions to be super rewarding once you start mastering the moves. Just like in real life sports, playing, practicing, and strategizing with your teammates will help you discover your unique style and set you on your path to becoming an Elite Champion!
We value positive sportsmanship and friendly competition, so we want both beginners and pros to have an exciting experience. One of our game modes, the Skatepark, is designed specifically with that in mind. It is a social hub where you can meet up to six players, see the pros perform amazing feats and learn from them!
In the Arena matches, beginners can be inspired by seeing others do gravity-defying moves, whether it is someone on your team, or on the opposing team. The core match rules were designed in such a way as to offer both risky and safe options for winning. For example, you can score one point if you complete a lap, but you could also take the risk and do two or three laps, which will increase the number points but will also give the opponents more of an opportunity to intercept the ball! This creates an engaging experience for both newcomers and pro players.
Furthermore, Roller Champions is a team-based sport at heart, which means that the more experienced players can help coach and communicate tactics to their teammates, while newcomers can focus on their own strengths as they discover the moves. As a team, no matter the expertise level, each player has the opportunity to shine and support their teammates.
Consequently, we have many tools available for newcomers to be well on their way to mastery, such as the Moves & Rules menu with videos and tips, the Custom match to practice with friends or AI, and the Skatepark to meet others. You can group up with friends to share knowledge and to build your Roller Champions career together.
Slickdeals: Speed and momentum are crucial to success in Roller Champions. What are some other advanced or non-traditional strategies that players should be on the lookout for?
Juliana Goriounov, Game Designer: In Roller Champions, there are many ways in which you can roll up to glory and create your own blazing path to success! There are three aspects that will help you master more advanced challenges. Firstly, use the environment to your advantage, in order to gain speed and height. Secondly, let your creative juices flow and find your own unique way of combining and using the moves. Thirdly, play as a team and adapt your tactics to the situation.
For the first point, the Arenas were designed in such as way as to allow you to use gravity and the layout to your advantage. Learn to take those tight curves in different ways to avoid opponents, pay attention to slopes to use the Pump action downwards to accelerate, and try to jump high on walls to gain even more momentum. Try a spectacular dunk, where you can jump through the goal itself, with the ball in your hands, to score!
For the second point, all players have the same moves available to them from the get-go, but it is how and when these moves are used, which distinguishes your personal playstyle. As you play and become more familiar with the Arenas, think of the best situations in which you can use these moves to surprise your opponents. The beauty of our gameplay is that you can use many of the moves both defensively and offensively, and in any way that you can imagine. For example, you can use the Team Moves to get a burst of speed forward to escape a tackle, or alternatively, to catch up to an opposing ball carrier. You could use an uppercut to get up high on the walls, or to jump in front of the goal just at the right time to deny your opponents when they try to score! These are just a few examples, and we have already seen the community being very innovative in that respect.
For the third point, Roller Champions is a team-based game, which is the key to your success. One of the most exciting aspects in our game is the opportunity to group up with your friends, and to make new friends through matchmaking that supports crossplay. Together, you can come up with surprising new strategies that will work for you, based on your team composition and strengths. During the match, players will have to keep a flexible mind and adapt as a team to the situation, as you never know who you will be up against.
Always keep in mind that you will need to outplay and outmaneuver your opponents with adaptable tactics – and expect the unexpected in return!