How Brawlhalla Became One Of The World’s Favourite Fighting Games
Blue Mammoth Games’ 2D fighting game Brawlhalla may not be a household name (yet), but on its fifth anniversary (since the beta was released), it has to be given its due props. Brawlhalla boasts more than 50 million players worldwide (as of October 2020), and, at the time of writing, is the #37 most-watched game on Twitch. The game is also available to play on several platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, macOS, Nintendo Switch and mobile, with full cross-play enabled across all. With 51 playable characters to date, Brawlhalla truly has a battle style for everyone.
Not bad for a free-to-play Super Smash Bros, huh?
To truly encapsulate how and why Brawlhalla has captured the hearts of 50 million people, we need to go back to the beginning.
Blue Mammoth Games released their baby into the world in November 2015, with a beta release. The aim of the game being – to brawl.
The comparisons to Super Smash Bros have to be made here, as the goal is the same. Damage your opponent and knock them off the stage to defeat them over a set number of lives (or stocks), usually three. Brawlhalla can be played in Free-For-All mode (4 players), 1v1 or 2v2, as well as rotating Brawl Of The Week modes.
Local and online play is supported, as is a Ranked mode where the sweatiest Brawlers can duke it out for ELO.
The simplicity of Brawlhalla is also its ingenuity, allowing anyone to pick up the game in a flash. The simple controls and one-button special moves are easy to learn, and the payoff is huge. It’s also just super fun. And the best part of all? Brawlhalla is free-to-play!
The Stars of Brawl
The characters of Brawlhalla are called “Legends”, and to date, there are a whopping 51 to choose from. As Brawlhalla is based on a freemium business model, the game offers nine characters to use on a weekly rotation, with others available to buy with Mammoth Coins (purchased for real money) or use Gold earned by playing to unlock the character of your choice.
However, a one-time transaction of £16.99 ($19.99) will grant you access to all current and future Legends.
The best part of Brawlhalla (in my humble opinion) are the characters themselves, from their special moves, to their design, to their ever-expanding lore.
The Legends are from a wide variety of origins, be that sci-fi, Viking legend, or Japanese culture, there truly is a character for everyone.
The characters each possess two weapons, picked up on the stage during the game, and can range from gauntlets, to swords, to cannons.
Prefer a hard-hitting melee character? Val is for you, with her strong gauntlets and slicing sword. Want a more refined Legend? The silent but deadly Hattori is your best bet, boasting a spear and sword combo that can pack a punch while delivering stealthy combos.
The characters also evolve, thanks to crossovers. Brawlhalla has crossed over with many different companies, games, and TV shows including Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Tomb Raider, Ben 10, and even The Walking Dead, where players could purchase specific skins for their Legend based on the outfits they know and love.
Blue Mammoth Games didn’t stop at creating a game for fans to have fun with; they wanted to take it to the next level – the competitive level.
In May 2016, the Brawlhalla Championship Series (BCX) began, only a year after the release of the game. NA and EU were invited to show off their talents, with a minor prize pool of $1000 up for grabs. Placements of players were used to seed them into the World Championship.
The Brawlhalla esports fun didn’t stop there, as Blue Mammoth Games announced the Brawlhalla Circuit in 2017, a worldwide tournament where the players with the highest number of points from each region would earn a coveted spot in the 32-player World Championship that November, and a slice of the $100,000 pie. This is where the face of Brawlhalla esports came to be - Zack "Boomie" Bielamowicz, winning the 2v2 championship with Ngwa "Remmy" Nforsi.
DreamHack, known for their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournaments, got involved in 2018 for Brawlhalla’s third year of tournament play, to put on LAN tournaments throughout the year, with over $300,000 worth of prizes.
2019 was another mammoth year for Blue Mammoth Games (get it?), as the DreamHack partnership continued, and Boomie triumphed again, winning the 2v2 World Championship.
Battle Passes Revitalise The Game
Blue Mammoth Games weren’t happy to sit on their laurels, proud of their achievements both in gaming and in esports – they also began to produce a Battle Pass for their fans to enjoy.
While skins are available to purchase for characters, weapons, and more, with the customisation options being seemingly endless, the Battle Pass really gave players a chance to grind out their favourite fighting game for fabulous prizes. Exclusive skins, taunts, weapons, and colours are part of an 85-tier Battle Pass, purchased with Mammoth Coins, and including a free-tier reward system for those who aren’t too bothered about the skins.
The Battle Pass works just the same as other games – you complete challenges to earn points, rank up tiers, and get exclusive items. These challenges can range from damage with a certain weapon, to taunting first, to unarmed KOs, and add a new element to the gameplay.
The future of Brawlhalla is clear - more fighting fun, and more esports to come.
Images via Blue Mammoth Games