Rocket League is a whimsical sports game about rocket-powered vehicles playing football. On paper it's not especially appealing – it sounds kinda dumb, to be honest – which is probably why publisher EA turned it down in 2011.
Fast forward four years later and Rocket League is one of the most successful indie phenomenons of all time, selling bucketloads and becoming an unlikely esports title. That's unfortunate for EA, because according to an IGN report last week, the publisher's new EA Originals indie initiative is all about "finding the next Rocket League".
"Would I want to be the guy that found Rocket League?" EA's Executive VP Patrick Söderlund said to IGN. "Yes. Would I want that to be an EA property? Of course I would like to."
The irony was not lost on Psyonix Studios design director Corey Davis, who tweeted about his studio's unsuccessful pitch. "We actually pitched the game to EA Partners in 2011," he wrote, "so I'm not sure what would be different this time around!"
It's easy to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude, but major publishers are inherently conservative – they've got stakeholders to please, after all. And anyway, initiatives like EA Originals shows that they are increasingly open to investing in strange games. Whether Fe ends up being an oddity or just another lighthearted indie adventure game about feelings (or a bit of both!), is yet to be seen.
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Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.