For months, Steel City Interactive’s eSports Boxing Club has teased it’s “revolutionary footwork system.” Previously, we’ve had so little gameplay footage that it’s hard to know exactly what’s so revolutionary about it. Today, we got our first taste of how movement works in eSports Boxing Club, complete with details on footwork, dodging, weaving, and slipping.
The Revolutionary Footwork System – Movement in eSports Boxing Club
Development Director at Steel City Interactive Ash Habib starts by showing a small clip from the ESBC Alpha gameplay trailer. The improvement is noticeable right away. Habib jumps straight into describing movement in eSports Boxing Club. Habib shows the responsiveness of the movement in a few ways. First, how much you press the analogue stick matters. On a full press, your boxer will make quick steps; on a half, small steps. Second, fighters shift their weight between legs, which means no quick and unnatural changes in direction. Habib said they wanted the fighters’ momentum to matter.
You can switch your fighting stance between tight and loose by tapping up on the D-pad. Habib said this let them show off the fighter’s personality. Some fighters will have more feint punches in this mode. Others, like Roy Jones Jr., might showboat a bit in their loose stance. By letting players swap seamlessly between the styles, Habib hopes to add yet another layer to combat in ESBC.
Defense – Blocking, Weaving, and Slipping
There are two ways to block in eSports Boxing Club: manual and semi-automatic. Players can manually block by holding the Right Trigger and moving the Right Stick around. You’ll have to defend six total areas: three on the head, and three on the body. By holding the Left Trigger as well, the player can opt for semi-automatic defense, where you only choose between defending the head and body. “We feel by having both of these options, players who want a deeper simulation can select the manual mode,” Habib said in the trailer, “whilst players who prefer for a more arcade feel can select semi-automatic mode instead.” Boxers will be able to throw straight punches and jabs while blocking, though with reduced power.
Dodging is simple. By flicking the left stick, your fighter will dodge quickly in that direction. If your opponent has already thrown a punch, however, it’s too late. Habib says dodging requires players to be able to read and predict what punches their opponents will throw. Dodges will look and feel different if your fighter is in their loose movement stance. You can perform a slip by fully holding the stick in the direction you want to slip a punch, rather than flicking.
If you want to make yourself even harder to hit, you can weave around punches by holding Left Trigger and moving the Left Stick. You can block while weaving, and use weaving as a tactic while your fighter is on the ropes. Habib pointed out that stamina affects your boxer’s ability to take a punch. If you can wear your opponent’s stamina away using these defensive options, you can swing back with a powerful punch.
One Punch Can Change Everything
Habib said that each boxer would have 42 different punches. He said the team wanted to make sure any fighter could throw any punch, at any angle, and have at least 2 punches to combo into. He also said that, with flash knockdowns and one-hit knockouts in the game, you have to find the balance between offense and defense. At any point in a boxing match, no matter how injured your opponent might be, Habib said, “one punch can change everything.”
Career Stats and Story Hub
We got our first look at the stats each boxer will have in ESBC. Two that stand out are the Discipline and Confidence, which Habib said are new to combat sports games. Gaining and losing stats will mostly be menu-based. However, Habib introduced the new Story Mode hub, to help tie stats and gameplay together.
eSports Boxing Club no longer has a launch window. Once the release date is announced, it will launch on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.