Knockout City

Online Gaming Is Sadly Losing One of Its Least Toxic Communities

In 2021, Velan Studios released one of the most innovative, interesting, and fun online multiplayer games on the market: Knockout City (KOC), a dodgeball brawler with auto-aim and other core mechanics that made the game appealing to players of all skill levels. And despite online games earning a reputation for breeding toxic fandom, it’s rare to play a match with people who are outright trolling.

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Sadly, Velan Studios has announced that on June 6, the Knockout City servers will shut down, meaning the game will no longer be playable. Since launch, KOC has been updated in “seasons,” and the ninth season releasing on February 28 will be its last. Then there will be a two-week farewell event called “Thanks for the KOs,” which will bring back fan-favorite play modes and offer tons of in-game incentives and rewards.

Velan Studios will also host a real-life celebration during the KOC farewell event. According to its statement, there will be giveaways, a competitive tournament, new merch, and “Deep Space Dispatches” from the game released as a podcast to wrap up the story. Plus, even though the online version of Knockout City is going away, players can still host their own on Windows PCs through private servers. Velan will release more information sometime soon.

“On a personal note, announcing the end of Knockout City is a bittersweet moment for me. While this is the end of a two-year journey for some of you, I and a handful of others on the team have been living in Knockout City for over six years,” game director Jeremy Russo says in the statement. “I am so proud of the team at Velan for creating such a wild new game with such critical acclaim at launch, for creating a brand new engine from scratch that’s capable of doing things no other engine can do over the Internet, for creating what I think are some of the most creative (and hilarious) cosmetics of any live-ops game on the market, and for keeping the game running, evolving, and improving for two years straight.

“I’m also so grateful to all of you, the players, for being the most positive and supportive game community any of us have ever seen, for dedicating your time to talking to us on Discord, Twitch, and elsewhere, for teaching me new tricks in my own game every time you beat me down in a match, and for putting up with me when I’m laying on that Taunt button a bit too much!” Russo continues. “Thank you, brawlers, for all your passion and support these past few years. I hope you all enjoy the final season of Knockout City, and I’ll see you out there!”

Before the launch of season nine, Knockout City will feature a “Chemical V-Day” event starting February 7. Players can participate in an exclusive “Super Mutant: Power Couple” playlist/match mode, where four teams of two will battle it out for highest score. Teams will take turns receiving massive power buffs while the rest attempt to protect each other from getting knocked out. There will also be Valentine’s Day-themed cosmetics in the shop.

It’s a genuine bummer to see Knockout City leave the online gaming sphere, even with the promise of private servers keeping the game alive in some way. Whatever Velan Studios does next, it’s bound to be even more innovative and interesting, utilizing all the tricks its team has learned creating this ball-brawler favorite.

(featured image: Velan Studios)

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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.