Earlier this year, the developers behind the dodgeball-inspired Knockout City announced that the game would be shutting down - with an important loophole. Now, fans are taking advantage of that loophole in a big way to give the game another chance at life.
Knockout City officially shuts down on June 6. However, prior to that date, developer Velan Studios released a free 'Private Server Edition' of the game, opening the door for players to host their own servers and keep the game going effectively forever. This version of the game features fully unlocked cosmetics and options to play all the special modes that were previously intended as seasonal exclusives. Plus, there are bots to ensure every mode can be played solo.
Unfortunately, the PC-exclusive app is more than a little fiddly to get running, but fans are already stepping in to build a more robust experience through the Knockout City Launcher, which you can download through GitHub. This is an unofficial piece of software that provides a server browser you can use to quickly and easily join servers hosted by the community. Fans are hosting multiple large capacity public servers that appear to be running 24/7, and are seemingly handling the costs for them out-of-pocket.
Live service games are all destined to someday die, and unfortunately, the competitiveness of the market means that death comes sooner rather than later for many titles in the space. The developers of Knockout City have offered a pretty much perfect example of what studios can - and should - do to make sure their work can outlive its ability to generate profit.
Originally published under the EA Originals indie label, Knockout City launched to strong reviews and receptive players in 2021. Unfortunately, the initial surge of interest didn't last. Velan Studios began self-publishing Knockout City in 2022 when it went full free-to-play, but this too failed to attract a substantial enough community. The studio announced the game's shutdown earlier this year, and have continued to support its final months with seasonal content, dev streams, and one final tournament with a $50,000 prize pool spread across NA and EU regions.
All the best online games deserve this level of support in death.