Psyonix announced today that its Rocket League Championship Series league, which has spanned nine seasons to date, will change into a longer, open events-based circuit.
The new circuit approach will have a total annual prize pool of more than $4.5 million (£3.6 million) across the entire season, and culminate in a larger Rocket League World Championship event.
According to Psyonix, the new approach – dubbed RLCS X – will open up high-level competition to even more teams than before while rewarding steady performance via a points-based structure. It will also afford Psyonix more flexibility in regards to hosting live events, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, Psyonix hosted a RLCS season approximately twice per year, with a season-ending World Championship. The format featured weekly league play for qualified teams across North America and Europe, with the Oceanic and South American regions handled by local organisers. The structure also included a second-tier Rival Series league with promotion and relegation between seasons.
RLCS Season 9 was held earlier this year with a World Championship announced for late April in Dallas, Texas. However, given the pandemic, Psyonix opted to cancel the World Championship altogether and divert more money into the respective regional finals instead, along with hosting additional online tournaments soon after the RLCS season ended.
Under the new RLCS X format, the season will span three splits: Fall, Winter, and Spring. Each split will feature three regional events apiece in North American and Europe (for 18 in total), including a Major event at the end of each split. Psyonix is still working with organisers in Oceania and South American to finalise those regions’ competitive details.
The season-ending Rocket League World Championship will expand to 16 total teams as a result of the new structure, with six each from North American and Europe and two each from Oceania and South America. The World Championship alone will have $1 million (£801,250) in total prize money available to teams.
Psyonix will use Battlefy to handle online qualifiers, with signups opening today. The first Fall season broadcast will take place on August 1 for Europe, and teams that retained their spots from RLCS Season 9 will automatically be qualified, with returning Rival Series teams automatically seeded into Day 3 of qualifiers. All Fall events will be held online.
There will also be weekly competitions in each league called RLCS: The Grid, with teams earning both prize money and points towards each split’s Major. Additionally, Psyonix recently announced a feeder system called The Field, which will allow up-and-coming teams to work their way up the competitive ladder.
Esports Insider says: This is an enormous change for Rocket League’s competitive ecosystem, but one that will hopefully help expand the talent pool while providing Psyonix more flexibility given the current circumstances of the pandemic.