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Knockout City is a 3v3 online dodgeball game coming this year

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Beaning people in the head with textured, too-hard rubber balls is pretty fun, but perhaps cruel, and not something I’ve had the opportunity to do since I was a teenager (at least, not legally). Announced today, Knockout City offers a virtual alternative to the real thing: a 3v3 dodgeball game that turns the sport into an arena shooter, roughly speaking. 

Knockout City is coming this May from publisher EA Originals and Velan Studios, an upstate New York-based developer that you probably haven’t heard of unless you’re a big fan of its first game, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. That game is well outside of my area of expertise, but yesterday, EA and the studio invited me to play a few matches of Knockout City to see what it’s all about. There’ll be a closed beta this weekend, too, if you’re interested in giving it a go.

One important distinction between Knockout City and the typical arena shooter is that precise aiming is not involved whatsoever, so mouse and keyboard players shouldn’t have any serious advantage over controller players. That’s crucial, as the two types of players are expected to intermingle: Knockout City will feature crossplay and shared progression among Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC when it releases. 

(Image credit: EA Originals)

Instead of aiming, you only need to look in the direction of an opponent while holding a ball (caught or picked up from around the map) and your prey will be auto-targeted. Left clicking hucks the ball at them, or you can hold and release to charge up and let loose a faster throw. Add a twirl or front flip by first pressing Q or E and you’ll throw a curveball or lob the ball upward like an artillery shell, clearing obstacles such as pillars and bridges or just messing with your target’s timing. You can also tap F to fake a throw. 

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