MultiVersus is relaunching — here’s what’s new and what’s changing

Warner Bros.’ fighting game MultiVersus returns on Tuesday, May 28 with its long-awaited relaunch. The Super Smash Bros.-inspired platform fighter is getting a big overhaul next week, with an expanded roster, new visuals, and improved netcode, which developer Player First Games designed to make online multiplayer matches feel just like local, four-folks-on-the-same-couch matches.

There’s a long list of changes coming with the official launch of MultiVersus — the previous version was labeled an open beta, you see — and we’ll break down what’s new below.

New fighters

Four new characters are confirmed for MultiVersus in season 1, which kicks off May 28. They are DC’s Joker (once again voiced by Mark Hamill), Adventure Time’s Banana Guard, Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees, and The Matrix’s Agent Smith.

Tony Huynh, Player First Games co-founder and game director on MultiVersus, told Polygon in a video interview that Joker is “full of gadgets” and steeped in references to the long history of the character. “We’re realizing that character in a way that I think fans of the Joker will be extremely happy with,” Huynh said. Joker is a mage-type fighter, a class that is currently “not really well-represented in MultiVersus,” Huynh said, “and so [he] also pushes our diversity of the player experience pretty far.”

[embedded content]

Banana Guard may be the most unexpected new addition to MultiVersus, given that Adventure Time is already represented in the game by Finn the Human and Jake the Dog. Huynh said that Banana Guard’s addition to the roster came from “an individual on our team that was very passionate about [the character],” and shows that “anything’s possible” in MultiVersus. “We aren’t just going to do the expected,” Huynh said.

Banana Guard will be free at launch for players who complete the game’s new tutorial. A Lady Banana Guard variant will also be free to unlock.

Jason Voorhees brings a new tank-class character to the MultiVersus roster. Jason will be big, and more importantly heavy, dwarfed only by the Iron Giant. “The big challenge there is, if you understand [the fighting game] genre, is that large characters are typically not viable, but [we] looked at it from that experience, like, ‘How do we make a viable large character in the game?’” Huynh said. “And I think we’ve done a really good job of that.”

Jason will be available through the game’s season 1 premium battle pass.

Details on Agent Smith are still forthcoming. The recurring villain of The Matrix franchise is due to arrive sometime during season 1 of MultiVersus.

New visuals and new netcode

[embedded content]

Player First Games says it has rebuilt MultiVersus from the ground up. That includes a tech upgrade, moving from Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 to Unreal Engine 5. Expect better-looking, larger characters and improved lighting.

More important, from a competitive standpoint, is MultiVersus’ new multiplayer netcode. That means the fighting game community’s tech solution of choice: rollback netcode. Here’s how Player First Games explains it:

Simply put, rollback netcode still sends player inputs back and forth, but each button press is accompanied by a precise timestamp, marking the exact moment of activation. This allows the client to reconstruct what would have happened had it received the input at the intended time. By leaping backward, then instantaneously simulating back to where you were, the game delivers an experience that feels smooth and enjoyable. With rollback netcode you’re seeing exactly the same thing as your opponent, meaning that their position and frames of animation are always updated to the most accurate position which continues to be predicted from there.

Huynh told Polygon that the game’s open beta period “really was about us learning as much as possible,” and that the dev team did learn a lot. “Now we have absolute world-class netcode,” he said, “so that players can play with their friends all across the country, and have just an amazing experience that almost feels offline.” Based on my hands-on with a pre-release version of MultiVersus’ new netcode, Player First has delivered. Even intercontinental matches felt surprisingly smooth and lag-free.

Rifts, a new PvE mode

[embedded content]

For players just getting their feet wet in MultiVersus (and those who may want some less-heated competition) there’s something new: rifts, aka battles against computer-controlled opponents. Rifts will provide seasonal challenges and bits of narrative for the game’s ongoing story. Here’s how Player First explains the new PvE mode:

Each Rift will have a sequence of battles or challenges around a particular theme, whether it’s The Joker infiltrating the Batcave or Batman and Velma teaming up to decide who’s the best detective. These themes will be organized around seasonal “Attunements,” such as Chaos, for the Clown Prince of Crime that is joining our cast in season 1. The same way every MultiVersus battle is bubbling with character interactions, we wanted to make each Rift “uniquely MultiVersus,” every season.

Rifts will have built-in cinematics and story elements, with “characters interacting with each other, tons of minigames, [for] a really diverse kind of experience,” Huynh said. “I think it does a really good job of teaching players how to play the game as well, but also has a lot of novel kind of experiences.”

Player First promises to keep developing and expanding Rifts: “Anything that we can imagine, we can build, and deliver that […] to players,” Huynh said. He added that, thanks to the game’s new netcode, MultiVersus Rifts can be played in their entirety cooperatively with friends.

New currencies

A graphic explaining MultiVersus’ four in-game currencies (Perk, Fighter, Prestige, and Gleamium) and how to acquire each Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games

Players who spent real money on MultiVersus’ premium currency, Gleamium, during the game’s open beta will keep that currency, which can be spent on character unlocks and future premium battle passes. Players will also retain character tokens and battle pass tokens earned during the open beta, but Player First and Warner Bros. will no longer offer those currencies.

With MultiVersus’ relaunch, in addition to Gleamium, there will be three new currencies:

  • Fighter currency, which can be earned in-game and used to obtain fighters
  • Perk currency, which can be earned in-game and be spent on perks, power-ups that players can attach to characters to give them buffs during combat
  • Prestige currency, which rewards players for all of the items and cosmetics they collect for their favorite fighters. “Each cosmetic item you acquire awards its own Prestige currency value based on type and rarity,” Player First wrote in a blog post. “Eventually, you’ll use your Prestige currency to unlock Prestige cosmetics, which represent the rarest cosmetics in the game. These items can only be unlocked using Prestige currency.”

Will MultiVersus still be free to play when it relaunches?

Yes. The MultiVersus relaunch will be a free download on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game will be monetized through premium battle pass purchases and through direct purchases of Gleamium.