Rocket League has successfully managed to carve out a sizable niche for itself after being released in 2015. However, as they say, "what goes up, must come down", and as more and more multiplayer games become available, Rocket League is in danger of losing a serious portion of its playerbase.
In fact, according to Steam Charts, Rocket League's average player count is down to around 36,000 concurrent players, from nearly 150,000 players in September 2020.
Perhaps in a bid to try and bring players back, as well as to draw new audiences in, Psyonix has confirmed that it is going to upgrade Rocket League's in-game engine to Unreal Engine 5.
When will Rocket League transition to Unreal Engine 5?
Psyonix's announcement that Rocket League is going to make the transition to Unreal Engine 5 wasn't made on an official blog post. Instead, it came from a post within a Reddit thread by the game's senior community manager, Devin Connors.
A since-deleted job listing detailed Psyonix's need for an individual that would help Rocket League "move to UE5". Connors later replied to the associated Reddit thread that first spotted the listing, and confirmed that a move to Unreal Engine 5 was something that the Epic-owned studio was "actively working on".
However, Connors added that the upgrade was a "long-term project" for the developers and that it will only show more details about the transition when the game is ready.
With that said, fans shouldn't expect Rocket League's move to Unreal Engine 5 to come anytime soon. Epic's very own hit game, Fortnite, isn't expected to make the jump until 2022, and Fortnite is currently using Unreal Engine 4. On the other hand, Rocket League is still using Unreal Engine 3.
The move will likely take a lot of manpower. Between keeping Rocket League fresh with a constant barrage of new content and fixing bugs, Psyonix already has its hands full. Then again, this explains the earlier job listing by Psyonix.
If it's any consolation, we do know the power of Unreal Engine 5 already. The Coalition, developer of the Gears of War games, have confirmed that it's going to make the next Gears of War game in Unreal Engine 5. Meanwhile, Game Science switched engines for Black Myth: Wukong mid-development, the results of which the indie studio showed off via a 12-minute trailer.
Here's hoping that the promise of a better-looking Rocket League within the next year or two is enough to keep fans interested in the game.