After the grand success of Dune, Warner Bros. has several upcoming releases for fans to look forward to, with The Matrix: Resurrections and The Batman set to be the next major releases for the studio.
The production company is pushing its superhero department heavily in 2022, releasing Dwayne Johnson's long-awaited Black Adam project on July 29, 2022 and the multiverse-hopping adventures of Barry Allen in The Flash on November 4, 2022. Warner Bros., of course, extends far beyond just DC though, owning franchises from Cartoon Network, Looney Tunes, HBO, and more.
With so many properties on hand, the studio is looking for ways to take advantage of its catalog of media. The studio attempted to bring many of these worlds together for Space Jam: A New Legacy, albeit to rather lackluster critical and commercial results.
A series of leaks revealed that Warner Bros. was going to give the idea another try in the form of a fighting game called MultiVersus.
Now, Warner Bros. released the game’s first official trailer, teasing MultiVersus’ strategic gameplay and ongoing content rollout.
Warner Bros. Announces Smash Bros.-Type MultiVersus
Warner Bros. released the first official gameplay trailer for MultiVersus, a free-to-play platform fighting game that brings together several iconic characters and locations from the worlds of DC, Cartoon Network, HBO, and more.
The game is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC with cross-play support and will be available for free in 2022.
MultiVersus has similar gameplay to fighting titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, albeit with the ability to play as the likes of Batman, Harley Quinn, Jake the Dog, and Arya Stark.
The game differs, though, in the fact that the primary mode of play is cooperative 2v2 matches, adding another layer of strategy to matches. 4 player free-for-alls and singleplayer matches will also be an option. As revealed by MultiVersus' press release, this will allow players to combine characters' moves for unexpected results:
"Featuring matches with a strong emphasis on online cooperative gameplay, every fighter will be outfitted with a deep set of combat mechanics that distinguish the game’s fresh take on 2 vs. 2 gameplay. This allows combatants to boast customizable movesets that combine dynamically with other characters as they battle for supremacy. From Wonder Woman and her Lasso of Truth attack being unexpectedly paired with Shaggy and his sandwich projectile, to Arya Stark’s face-swapping ability being used to complement Superman’s laser vision, the impossible can become possible through surprising team combinations and matchups. "
Available characters at launch include Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, Steven and Garnet from Steven Universe, Harley Quinn, Arya Stark, Finn the Human and Jake the Dog from Adventure Time, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and an original character named Reindog.
MultiVersus is said to feature "an ever-expanding cast of iconic characters and legendary universes," so players should expect more playable fighters down the road.
Players will also be able to choose various outfits for fighters, such as a DC Rebirth-inspired suit for Harley Quinn, a more classic look based on Batman: The Animated Series, or a costume from James Gunn's The Suicide Squad.
MultiVersus is being developed by Player First Games, a relative newcomer to the game development industry. Co-Founder & Game Director Tony Huynh said that MultiVersus is a "dream project" for the studio, highlighting the game's many features to provide "a seamless competitive experience" for players:
"MultiVersus is a dream project for our team at Player First Games, and we’re excited to officially reveal the game,” said Tony Huynh, Co-Founder & Game Director, Player First Games. “We’ve built MultiVersus from the ground up to be a cooperative, social game that embraces teamwork and strategy. We’re also focused on providing first class online gameplay through dedicated server-based rollback netcode so that friends and rivals can enjoy a seamless competitive experience as they duke it out with our diverse roster of characters.”
President of Warner Bros. Games David Haddad emphasized that MultiVersus will be positioned as a "distinct competitive game" while also highlighting support for "upcoming seasons and ongoing game content" down the road:
“With MultiVersus we are creating a distinct competitive game that allows us to combine a deep roster of celebrated WarnerMedia franchises for gamers to enjoy... We are partnering with the talented team at Player First Games to bring together a free-to-play, online platform fighter with a wealth of iconic characters that fans know and love, from Wonder Woman and Bugs Bunny to Shaggy and Arya from Game of Thrones. And this is just the beginning, as we are excited to support upcoming seasons and ongoing game content.”
The game also boasts full voice acting, bringing in fan-favorite actors like Kevin Conroy to reprise his role as Batman in addition to big-name stars like Maisie Willaims returning as Arya Stark:
"Additionally, MultiVersus will feature an all-star cast of talent lending their voices to the game, including Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: Arkham series) as Batman, George Newbern (Justice League vs. the Fatal Five, Injustice 2) as Superman, Abby Trott (Carmen Sandiego) as Wonder Woman, Tara Strong (Batman Ninja, Batman: Arkham series) as Harley Quinn, Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo) as Shaggy, Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons) as Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry, Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as Arya Stark, John DiMaggio (Adventure Time) as Jake the Dog, Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time) as Finn the Human, Daniel DiVenere (Spirit Riding Free) as Steven Universe, Estelle (Steven Universe) as Garnet and Andrew Frankel (Jellystone) as Reindog."
The full trailer can be seen below:
Batman, Bugs Bunny...Who's Next?
After the MCU opened up the Multiverse in its own universe, it appears Warner Bros. is instead attempting to use the concept to bridge a whole host of franchises.
So far, MultiVersus appears to be a fresh take on the Smash Bros.-style of gameplay, with the ability to combine moves in a cooperative fashion adding a lot of depth.
The title being free-to-play in tandem with crossplay support should also help to make the game more accessible to all, allowing anyone to hop into the fun. This does raise questions about the monetization model for the title, though, as it will have to generate revenue somehow. The likely option is that MultiVersus will include a battle pass akin to Fortnite that will allow players to unlock collectibles and cosmetics for their characters.
Perhaps MultiVersus could also add extra skins through an in-game shop, which could enable Warner Bros. to sell iconic costumes for characters. For example, Player First Games could time a launch of a Robert Pattinson Batman skin with the release of The Batman in March 2022.
The question on everyone's mind, though, is certainly who's next for the game? Warner Bros. has hundreds upon hundreds of properties at their fingertips, so there is a limitless amount of potential for additional fighters. The recent release of Dune could lend itself to a character like Paul Atreides or Duncan Idaho joining from the sands of Arrakis. The upcoming Matrix: Resurrections would also be perfect for adding Neo, Trinity, or Morpheus, who could all receive skins based on their looks from the different films.
Ultimately, MultiVersus appears to be a solid foundation for a fighting platform, so it will be interesting to see how the game progresses with updates and added content.
MultiVersus releases on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC in 2022.