Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has been officially announced a few days ago, and already fighting game fans and newcomers alike are getting hyped for the game. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl has broad appeal thanks to the game featuring a wide range of Nicktoons, so if you’ve ever watched Nickelodeon at any point in your life, there’s a good chance your favorite character will be playable in the game!
But perhaps the biggest surprise of them all was not the roster, but the fact that the developers have confirmed that the game will use “rollback” netcode on supported platforms. Which platforms to be exact is still unclear, but the fact that the game uses this advanced netcode at all is a shocking but welcomed surprise. What does it all mean, exactly?
For those unfamiliar, “netcode” is a blanket term used to denote how a game handles connections between online players. Good netcode is an absolute must in a fighting game, as timed inputs can mean the difference between a victory and a loss. You don’t want to lose a match because things got laggy, right?
Ever since online play was introduced to modern fighting games, a vast majority of them used “input delay” netcode. What this means is that when you press a button, your character will not immediately perform the corresponding action, depending on how many frames of input delay there is, which is determined by how stable your connection with your opponent is.
At its worst, input delay can cause the game to come to a complete stop in order to catch up, and the most infamous case of this is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s online play. Ultimate uses some form of input delay netcode that makes a lot of matches unplayable due to the amount of lag. If you’ve ever tried to play Ultimate online, there’s a good chance you’ve had at least one unplayable match.
So how does “rollback” netcode work differently? Well, instead of the input delay, your character performs actions as soon as you press the button, regardless of your opponent’s input. Whenever the game does receive your opponent’s input, they will immediately jump to the action, regardless of their current state. In its worst state, rollback can lead to some jumpy situations, but for the most part it’s generally believed to be a much more enjoyable experience than input delay netcode.
The recently released Guilty Gear Strive, the latest release from fighting game experts Arc System Works, utilizes rollback netcode, and it has been praised to the moon and back. More and more modern fighting games are starting to use rollback netcode since it’s perceived as the superior fighting game netcode to use.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl was initially perceived as a silly one-off party game, but now that it has rollback, that may mean more players may actually take it seriously. It’s also ironic that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is not using rollback, which means that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is most likely going to have the better online experience, which is a pretty big deal!
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is scheduled for a late 2021 release and will be available for PC, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned for updates!