Even though it wasn’t the biggest tournament at CEO 2021, ArcSystemWorks didn’t leave fans of BlazBlue hanging—announcing that both BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and BlazBlue: Centralfiction will both be getting GGPO rollback netcode.
These updates are in response to BlazBlue community continuing to ask for enhanced online play while still actively competing in events and online, and will be released sometime in 2022.
Centralfiction will be getting the update first, with a public beta launching for the Steam version of the game launching later today at around 5pm CT, while the general launch is currently slated for sometime in February 2022. BBCTB likely won’t be seeing the update until after Centralfiction’s is up and running, as ArcSys has listed it with a wider 2022 release window.
For Centralfiction, it appears that the update will only be on PC, while BBCTB will receive rollback netcode on both PC and PlayStation. This is likely due to Centralfiction having released on the PS3, with crossplay enabled for other versions over the PlayStation network, which would require a lot of extra work to provide updates for those versions of the game.
Having good online netcode for games can be the difference between a developer seeing their titles thrive or falling off heavily after launch, especially in a community as competitive as the fighting game community. The spike in players for Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R and the continued success of Strive are perfect examples of this fact.
However, this does inherently mean other games like Dragon Ball FighterZ will be receiving similar treatment even though they were developed by ArcSys and it looks like adding rollback to older games is getting easier with time.
That is because ArcSys was just the developer for titles like DBFZ and Granblue Fantasy: Versus, which launched in 2017 and 2020 respectively. And, while both games don’t have rollback, the decision to spend time, resources, and, most importantly, money to add rollback to those games would be a decision made by Bandai Namco and Cygames for their respective games.
Regardless, this news, along with the continued push from ArcSys, indie teams, and even Riot Games with Project L to have a focus on netcode when developing their newer fighting games likely means that future releases in the space that don’t feature rollback will be few and far between.