Rugby World Cup Game 2011 – Exclusive Preview

As someone who remembers trying to win the World Cup over and over again on an old IBM laptop playing Rugby 2001, I’ve always held an interest in rugby games. It’s been four years since the last release of a Rugby video game, and so the build up to the release of the Rugby World Cup 2011 has been rife with anticipation about the upcoming release. On Monday, I was lucky enough to test out the game around two months before it hits the shelves (August 26th).

Speaking with Alastair Jarvis from HB Studios (developer) and John Merchant from 505 Games (publisher), the key for both parties was creating a game that was both “realistic but also a fun product.” The game works off a similar framework to the last release Rugby 2008, except with several improved features. Areas of the previous games that left gamers frustrated such as the ruck area and in defense have been updated. The breakdown has been sped up considerably, with a new “quick pick” feature in place in order to make instinctive attacks a lot easier. Also in defense, tacklers can now strafe between targets as opposed to being locked on to one particular target.

Accessibility to anyone was also a key ingredient for the developers, who stated that for someone completely new to the game, “by the end of their first game should be scoring tries.” This however doesn’t mean that the game will be a walk-over. The developers have sought to make the higher levels of the game exceptionally hard in order for users to not get bored too quickly, as was the case with the last release.

The game also features many other firsts, becoming the first rugby game to be played in HD, and more importantly the ability to play online on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network against friends. This is the seen by the developers as key to the game’s longevity, and users will be able to keep their teams up to date by using the new Player Editor feature.

Authenticity has always played a big part in the games developed by HB Studios over the years, and RWC 2011 is no different, with HB Studios and 505 Games announcing on Tuesday that they had secured an exclusive RFU license for rights to the “Rugby World Cup 2011 England team strip, emblem, players’ likenesses and the Home of England Rugby, Twickenham Stadium, within the game.” With more licenses to be announced over the next few weeks, visually it should be as close to real life as possible.

I got to play a half on Monday, and the new features really stood out. Along with a more intense battle at the ruck, another new feature is the ability to chip kick in attack. The passing and running lines are sharper, and I even made a break with Mike Tindall, proof that I really was playing a computer game. For any rugby fan with a PlayStation or an Xbox, this game will be essential.

Rugby World Cup 2011 will be available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on August 26th 2011. For more information, please visit the official website at

by Ben Coles

30 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup Game 2011 – Exclusive Preview

    1. If you want a “rugby club” one, look at Rugby Challenge. Aviva is confirmed as well as NZ ITM cup.

  1. It does look great, i know there’s another rugby game released for Aus/NZ that i don’t think we’ll get to see. As long as the ruck and maul situations are realistic i think it could be a winner.

  2. The guys I spoke to were keen to stress that if they could, they would make a game with all the club competitions. Their words were if this one is successful, then maybe we could see a new game in two years time with more competitions, and I guess given the timing, potentially a Lions tour.

  3. Whats really annoying is that we’ve gona years wihtout a decent rugby game and then suddenly we have 2 versions being released at the same time and that the licenses are split because of this. Sidhe Iiteractives got the Wallaby and AB licenses but sounds like they HB doesnt and vice versa on the other teams. Also the Sidhe game will feature most club sides from Top 14, Super 15 and Heineken Cup so slightly annoying if they dont have the license to national sides. Equally although Id liek to play HB’s version for the world cup the reality is missing all these club competitions and only having world cup sides liek Romania is not going to appeal. Less Oz / NZ thats significant given the cup is being played in NZ and NZ and Oz are probably 2 of the 4 sides that have a real shot.

  4. I feel all the Rugby versions are too easly mastered and feel that World cup, Tri and Five nations final conditions and difficulty should be obtained and played. There should be difficulty levels but if u chose difficult u dont want to finish the game in a day. Thank you

  5. Jonah Lomu rugby…never been bettered. Did anyone else used to run in the air after catching a line-out? My favourite move.

    1. man that levitating in the air move was a killer. tried playing the ps1 jonah lomu on the ps3 and she worked a treat, best surprise i’ve ever had.

    2. I saw Jonah Lomu has been working with Sidhe on Rugby Challenge and will be included in the game. Definitely looking forward to that.

  6. Graphics llok great I must say although will be a big loss if club teams aren’t on there.

    Johan Lomu will never be beate. The Rage team with the miniature winger who could run the length of the pitch in about 3 seconds that you unlocked after completing the challenges – CLASS

    1. There won’t be any club teams in RWC 2011. It’s the 20 RWC 2011 teams only. Check out Rugby Challenge for club play… it’s also going to be on PC… plus Jonah Lomu is featured in the game.

  7. will there be a referee on the field? also will there be options to create a particluar sidestep or backline move?

  8. Is there only international teams on the game? just world cup participating teams or will there be the priemership and super 14 teams also included like the rugby 08 game?

  9. I had the opportunity to download the Rugby World Cup 2011 Demo on my Xbox 360 this morning. However after eagerly waiting for the fairly quick download I found myself playing an almost complete replica of Rugby 2008 (the only difference I found with the two was the rucking, and improved graphics)which I happened to play the day before to get myself acquainted with the series. I was most disappointed with the demo and I find myself even further in the camp of Rugby Challenge, but I am a patient person and I will allow Rugby World Cup to redeem itself as this is only a demo, but if I am going to spend my money on the game it will have to improve as Rugby Challenge already has over four times as many teams with licences and the game play looks to be build from the ground up unlike World Cup which still includes its unnatural sidestepping. I don’t mean to be harsh about the Rugby World Cup 2011 Demo but I am disappointed that they have had so much time and yet changed so little. P.S I may purchase this game when it is around £15.00

  10. I’d love if they made a rugby game with the option of being on player like in FIFA or PES, the game is similar to rugby 2008 but it’s better on the breakdown and just seems better even though that was only the demo

    1. I don’t believe that they are planning on having club teams like in Rugby 08. At the moment the game will only contain around 20+ international teams. :( On the bright side Rugby Challenge (which looks a lot better) will have 90+ teams and all the “good” rugby union leagues along with a handful of licensed international ones eg. New Zealand, which RWC was unable to get the license of.

  11. who plays these mindless stupid games on line . get a rugby ball and get out in the rain like man and play real rugby with real skills and real hits . utter crap , yankie crap , like all yankie sports, pathetic

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