Don't cast those "sports game of the year" votes just yet folks.
With the Rugby World Cup only days away (and how could you not know, with all the pomp and hype surrounding it?) now is the time to announce (or even release) new, competing rugby union games. This week both Rugby Challenge 4 and Rugby 20 made their debuts, and Rugby Champions was stealth released on Steam. Here is all we know so far.
Rugby 20 is developed once more by Eko Software and published by Big Ben. Rugby 18, the previous effort in the franchise, I described as “ain’t so good” and “worst sports game this year” in a review just as brilliant now as it was back in 2017. Check it out here. First we have the announcement trailer:
That, actually looks pretty good. Let’s check out what some gameplay looks like, shall we?
Rugby 20 will feature licensed teams and leagues, likely to be European international and domestic squads going by the trailer and previous experience. Set plays and tactics are new to the series, and there is a beta currently live for anybody who pre-orders the game. You can find out more about that on Facebook.
Rugby 20 will be released in January 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. You can find more information over on the official website.
So what does Rugby Challenge 4 look like? Well we don’t have a trailer, just some background videos from the official website, which features the Wallabies and All Blacks. We don’t even have an official developer, though Melbourne’s Wicked Witch Software made Rugby Challenge 3. Rugby Challenge 4 boasts 25 licensed squads, likely to be international and Super Rugby teams, plus it includes the ever popular Fan Hub for easy team creation and sharing that has overcome licensing shortages in previous rugby union, rugby league and cricket games.
What we do know is that Rugby Challenge 4 is coming to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch, though the PC and Switch release will be delayed slightly from the other consoles. Rugby Challenge 3 was the most promising of recent rugby union video game releases, even if it shared far too many similarities with its 2013, previous generation predecessor developed by Sidhe Interactive. Rugby Challenge 3 earned such praise as “I had some fun with it” and “they include a physical manual in the box” in my 2016 review, also a cracking read. Check it out here.
Finally we have Rugby Champions, released by the wonderfully named studio Biological Systems Modeling, a developer (not) famous for rugby union management games. It is out now on Steam for $20.35 AUD for those brave enough to take the plunge. There are no official licenses and it looks like an Xbox 360 game, but the quality bar is pretty low for rugby union games this generation so all it needs to do is play decently.