Rugby League Live 5 Release Date | Will There Be A Rugby League Live 5? | Popcorn Banter

Will There Be A Rugby League Live 5?

**UPDATE – March, 2023**

Unfortunately, as of late March 2023 in which we are 4 weeks into a new NRL season, we still have no confirmation that a new rugby league video game even exists. A recent email exchange from the NRL has shed a dim light on when we can be expecting a new game.

The email states that, “there have been a number of unforeseen challenges which we are currently working through.”

It also goes on to mention that due to these ‘challenges’, the NRL does not have any new updates or information to share with fans.

However, in news that will make fans slightly happier, there IS a new rugby league game out in the market. Rugby League Legends ’23 has been released on iOS, with a console and Android release incoming. Rugby League Legends ’23 is not a simulation, but an arcade-style game; however, this does not take away from any enjoyment. The game is fast paced and full of action. You can get it now on iOS for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

These pre-worded emails outline the complete contempt and lack of clear communication between the NRL, Tru Blu & the avid fans of Rugby League games. Fans are desperate for a new game to play, with the last game launching in 2017. Rugby League 4 was widely panned by fans and critics and you would image they would be looking to rectify this as quickly as possible, however, it seems the chances of a Rugby League Live 5 are as far away as possible.

We see new FIFA, NBA, NFL & NHL games launching every year (from different publishers), and yet Australian sports are left out in the cold. This is a fact that is not being ignored by fans of the franchise, who are quickly growing tired of the lack of communication about any upcoming games.

Here’s a word of advice to the NRL & Tru Blu. It’s time to tell the fans what your actual plans are.

**Original Article**

Now that the NRL is back on our TV’s, the Aussie gaming community is once again turning its head to what’s coming up in the sports games pipeline. AFL Evolution 2 was released in early April and AO Tennis 2 dropped at the beginning of the year, but we’re still to hear any news about an upcoming Rugby League game. For years, the rights to Official Rugby League video games have been with Publishers Tru Blu, with Big Ant the development team behind the franchise.

However, after the release of Rugby League Live 4, which was met with scathing reviews by fans and critics alike, both Tru Blu & Big Ant have been separately focussing on other sporting titles. For Big Ant, these include popular titles such as Cricket 19, AO Tennis 2 & Big Bash Boom, whilst Tru Blu have put out AFL Evolution 2 & Pharlap since Rugby League Live 4’s release.

Despite the fact that the sports games being produced are undoubtedly worthy of plenty of playing hours, fans are desperate to see a Rugby League title back on their consoles. There have been whispers within the gaming community that the relationship between Tru Blu & Big Ant is at an all-time low following the debacle of Rugby League Live 4. If this happens to be true and the relationship is beyond repair, it throws into question the future of the Rugby League gaming genre.

Assuming that a new game is made in the near future, there are aspects of the titles as we know them that will need to be improved upon. Let’s take a look at what improvements a new Rugby League game should make.

Less Focus On Graphics & More Focus On Gameplay

Rugby League Live 5 Release Date | Popcorn Banter

Rugby League Live 4’s chief failing was its inability to give fans a game that flowed well and was easy to play. Sure, there are some fans who enjoy hard to play games. But for the majority of us, we just want a game that doesn’t have a steep 20 hour learning curve just to figure out how to do simple things.

The flow of Rugby League Live 3 was admittedly much better, and that games mechanics would be a good place to start when looking at the bigger picture of an updated Rugby League game.

Rugby League Is A Game Of Subtle Nuances & The Games Need To Incorporate This

Will There Be A Rugby League Live 5? | Popcorn Banter

Rugby League can be a very, very simple game. If you only know it from the Xbox & PlayStation games, then it would seem agonisingly simple. However, the games we’ve received so far have left a lot on the table when it comes to nailing the split second timing and intricacies that the game can create. Whether this is as a result of technology and it’s limitations or a general failing to understand the sport, i’m not sure – but what i would like to see in the future is a game where the ability to move & react is more in line with how it occurs in the real world.

Naturally, I understand that many Australian publishers and developers don’t have the money to create expansive physics system like the ones seen in Madden or FIFA, but slightly more emphasis on in-game controls would create a world of difference while playing the games.

An Updated Receiving System For Attacking Kicks

The ability to place tactical kicks from short range is something that the Rugby League Live franchise has never struggled with. Users can place chips, bombs and grubbers which, if placed correctly, can put your team in a great position. But this is where the system usually stops. We would like to see an update to the receiving system after an attacking kick is placed. It’s far too difficult to grab the ball and proceed to place it over the try line. We’d love to see tactical diving for the ball, or an updated way to catch a bomb or chip and not be instantly held up.

An In-Depth Management System Would Increase The Replay Value

Sports games are generally pretty good when it comes to their replay value. Often games with a single story line are hard to return to, but with sports games, you’re presented with something different each time you run onto the field – and that’s great. Rugby League games have been no different, and to this day I continue to play Rugby League Live 3, despite the fact it’s almost 5 years old. But what I would like to see moving forward is more emphasise put into what you can achieve off the field through management or coaching modes.

In the past we’ve been able to transfer player and make small changes to a team’s management, but that’s normally where the process will stop. In future Rugby League games, it would be incredible to have a management system similar to that of the Rugby League Team Manager series. That series allows you to manage almost every function of the off-field roles of a coach/manager and it would be incredible to see these functions incorporated with the Rugby League Live franchise.

Regularly Updated Content

Adam Reynolds In Rugby League Live 4 | Will There Be A Rugby League Live 5? | Popcorn Banter

I’m fully aware of how much work devs put into games & their updates. I want to throw that out there immediately. However, with many of the older games, I’ve felt the lack of updates have made the games feel dated, quicker.

The games in the Rugby League Live franchise have thus far released every few years. That means, after the first year of its release, the content (including jerseys, players & stats) quickly become outdated.

If the new developer (whomever that may be) can provide the community with strong, yearly or half-yearly updates, it would dramatically increase the longevity of each instalment. A Rugby League game that can keep me happy and content for 3 or more years, would be an absolute dream.

What sort of changes would you like to see in future Rugby League games? Let us know in the comments below.

Find out the games we’ve listed in Our Top 5 Rugby League Games of All-Time.


  1. I contacted Tru Blu directly and they said that the game is on hold. So we won’t see anything in the next few years unless the NRL move the license on to a better publisher

  2. Any word on who might be developing a new NRL game?

    Now June and still no clarity around the next NRL game.

  3. Hey PB, you heard anything since the player scans a couple months back. See Ross from BigAnt is laying into TruBlue on Twitter, as he should be, stressing it’s been half a decade since RLL4!

  4. Does anyone know if Tru Blu/HES have permanent ownership of the license or have they got it for x amount of years? Would be great if it is the second option because ideally it would go up for tender and we would see someone else pick it up and actually own it with some passion (looking at you @ Big Ant).

    Tru Blu’s lack of communication and general disrespect for fans is diabolical. I would hate to be working for their marketing team (although I highly doubt they have one by the way they promote their games). Unless for some reason the NRL is holding things up I can’t see why we have to wait so long with no traction. Would be nice to hear some news but this game has been ‘in development’ for the last few years and 1 of 2 things will happen.

    1) Game is actually in development, is nearing release and TruBlu has yet again nailed the marketing/hype around the game. They’ll then announce it with some shitty screenshots, followed by a confusing trailer accompanied by a release date (due in a few months) which will then be delayed. Lastly, a new release date will be provided but it will be broken by a retailer releasing it one week early.

    2) It doesn’t exist and we’re all wasting our time and should go play Madden/Cricket 22.

  5. Signs are looking promising Popcorn Banter, after a few tweets from players getting scanned this week! My prediction is a 2022 July release, with a DLC in 2023 for the Dolphins.

  6. they should release it 2023 but add grand final teams and all time teams that would be fun and add all the womens teams even the harveynorman womens cup update the rosters jeresys staduims and opition of no crowds or small packed out crowds would be nice so you can play a small state of origin and a massive knock on effect cup crowds

    1. I wish that all the english tiers got face scanned and including the low tiers for example swinton and keighley also release new updates and make every stadium there is liceneced for each team and when on career mode in uk make it so you can do duel registeration with a team where you can negotiate instead of getting the players automatically from a higher club.make the career mode better rather than signing at the end of the season have free agents to get at anytime.World cCup Compotition and regular updates on the transfers,would also like to see a ultimate team kind online mode would keep the game intresting too

    1. Don’t worry, we check for RLL5 news every day, too.

      Most recent info is just more of the same, unfortunately. Tru Blu won’t specify a release date, just that the game is “in development”. Personally, I don’t believe this.

      Considering The Dolphins have been confirmed for 2023, I think this could be a realistic time frame? But you just never know with the NRL…

      1. At this rate, building a community to reach out to Big Ant Studios for an unofficial Rugby League game could be our best hope of a decent next gen game.

        1. Tbh thats not a bad idea, a rugby league game unlicensed but with amazing customisation. Similar customisation to Super Mega Baseball, Backbreaker or like FanHub (although I hate FanHub). Worth a nudge ay. Do we use your platform to build the community?

          1. Exactly. With the quality of community creation going on on the Big Ant cricket games an unlicensed game would become unofficially licensed real quick.

            So really we just need the framework of a solid rugby league game.

            1. The big problem is that Tru Blu have shown for years that are an amateur company. We need the rights to be sold to a decent company. If Big Ant had the rights that could be epic however they had a few cracks at nailing rugby league and haven’t created a great playable game. Always glitchy and either too easy or too hard. Whenever the next game comes let’s hope who ever creates it, that is fun and playable

          1. Very quiet on that front. Nothing has leaked since the information about photo scans. I’d be pretty confident to say we shouldn’t expect the game for the 2022 season. Then again, announcing the game with 2 weeks lead up time would also not surprise me lol

      1. Hey Ross have you heard anything in relation to a new game? Being in the industry you’d know more than us

  7. I emailed HES directly and got a response stating that a game was in development however they wouldn’t elaborate on when its due out or anything. Tru Blu / HES have held back this title! I wish the NRL would have more input or sell the licence to a reputable publisher. The lack of marketing is a major downfall. In the current social media age, marketing is is cheap and easy but these guys have shown for the past 15 years that they care little for the consumer

  8. The major issue here is that Big Any Studios, from what I read, have no involvement in RLL anymore. It looks as though they handed the title over to TruBlu a while back after a possible relationship breakdown between the two. TruBlu and Wicked Witch most likely have the rights at present and are hopefully working alongside the NRL to put a game together. If we are going to get a game anytime soon they would surely launch around February 2022, and now that AFL Evo. has had its upgrade released, maybe they are focusing on a Rugby League title. I just wish they would tell us something…

    1. Yes, that’s correct. Big Ant aren’t involved at all anymore. In fact, their CEO, Ross, recently tweeted that if Big Ant had the rights we’d probably be playing Rugby League Live 6 by now. Whether that was tongue-in-cheek or just a nice little pot shot at TruBlu, it doesn’t change the fact he’s probably right. At the very least, it’s time for either TruBlu or the NRL to come clean about the game and if it exists or not. Call me a skeptic, but I just don’t believe their copy/paste email responses.

      1. Just been scrolling through Ross’s Twitter, he’s very active so disappointing that Big Ant won’t be involved in the forseable future. He mentions that Wicked Witch have also publicly stated they won’t be involved either. So if it is TruBlu then it’s going to be someone different. The NRL surely will be heavily involved, it’s quite unbelievable that it’s fallen over this bad!

  9. I contacted HES (tru blu) directly and they told that a game is definitely in the works however wouldn’t tell me anything more. No time lines or anything.
    For me I hated RLL4. It’s just simply to hard and the passing is awful. The button less defence is just as bad. RLL2 looked like they had the foundations solid and then RLL3 and 4 just went backwards. I am hoping the game gets a total make over, maybe a different studio can take it where it should as big ant didn’t fully commit. I think the problem might be Tru Blu. Going for the cheapest option always. They definitely lack in the marketing department. As this is in the works you think they’d been pumping out a little bit of content by now considering for the last 2 years the NRL confirmed its happening. Fingers the next iteration is worth the wait however I’ve been let down by what we pay our hard earned money on.
    I am hoping the NRL had more input in this game.
    Imagine a NRL game with what 2K have done for the NBA. Players play it and market the hell out of it! Us NRL fans deserve that to.
    I guess we wait for 2022 now. However I am hoping a Xmas release this year.

    1. I find it hard to believe a game is anywhere past the initial discussion stage. You’re absolutely right about the marketing. They’d be crazy not to be making waves about the game if it were anywhere close to being completed.

      Also, I’m positive that Big Ant wasn’t the problem with Rugby League Live 4. Look at what they’ve been able to achieve on their own with their cricket games.

      I’m personally really excited to get a new Rugby League game at some point. But the fact that Tru Blu will be behind it (and probably Wicked Witch) leaves me feeling very shaky about the whole thing.

      1. I couldn’t agree anymore. Tru Blu seem very amateurish even though they’ve been the industry a long time. A simple announcement and a screen shot or two and social media does the rest. But in the past they’ve shown they can’t even get that right. Hopefully we are all surprised.

        1. TruBlu have been horrific with marketing these games for years. I still remember all the way back to the Sidhe days the only information you could get was little hints from the developers or the NRL stating “a game is in development but we have no more information”. RL3 was amazing, I still have no idea why they only released it to Wii, baffling. Until the games are about a month away from release, they do absolutely nothing to hype them. Perhaps TruBlu just have zero budget for these things but it feels like they’ve just crippled Rugby and Rugby League games from truly growing and being great. To go with this, you would think they would have some sort of fan forum to engage those that have played these games since Rugby League 1 but no, they change developers and then things start from scratch.

  10. there was only one good game and that was rugby league 2 on playstation 2 not the world cup edition because th injury ratio of that was jacked up through the roof but rl2 ps2 was good sure its a bit dated but even on seasonal it actually feels like a game worth playing needs some minor tweak but by far it had a decent control layout and its a game i continue to enjoy to this day win or loose

    1. Im a huge Rugby League 2 fan. It made massive improvements on the first game and brought in career mode. The graphics and gameplay were much, much better.

      That was the first time we were able to trade players throughout a franchise. Good times.

    1. Yep. You’d have to imagine if it was real they’d be starting to build hype by now. I’m afraid it’s likely still a while away.

  11. Simple. RLL5 needs to have the passing of RLL2 (short balls through the line – and offloads to a lesser extent – were outstanding in this iteration, and need only be slightly better defended at times by slightly increasing the earnestness and individual decision-making of the AI), the spin (somewhat secret) in there as an occasional pull out move (also in RLL2).
    The ‘feel’ on attack needs to amalgamate, but then improve upon, RLL2 and 3.
    RLL4 was terrible as the passing was poison. No holes to run into, awful floaters to intercepts by defenders inappropriately out of their defensive line or who hold out on your free man when you draw and pass, which is pure unrealistic, mozarella cheese…
    And, bizarrely, RLL4 had effectively no tackle button. Yes. Believe it. Timing and hitting a button for low or wrap tackle is not complicated and is essential – as a bigger hit option rife with variable good and bad results (high, lost ball in various directions, shoulder charge). ‘Levering’ hopefully towards the ball carrier or ‘running into them’ is just that. It’s not tackling.
    It is a game. It is digital. Do not apply crackdowns etc to the game. You can’t sanitize a game you wowzers. It’s not real, you pious idiots!
    Tackle animations beginning must NOT affect the attacker’s post-that-moment decision to pass or step etc. This is crucial. ALL gamers will sacrifice graphical perfection for freedom of choice, control and variability. That is not just my opinion, it is a fact applicable to 98.52% of all sports gamers.

    RLL2 was very good for its time, it just took investment and you could score great tries, with variation too. RLL3 was less varied and had the identical AI cheese barge and drive at line you couldn’t stop, and kicking etc was harder, as were timings for things as trying to marginally tweak graphics caused inferior collision detection which started too early.

    If people want to offload and choose to AFTER a tackle has begun on them, LET THEM and make it allowed and more possible. Allow perhaps it to be aimed (with FEEL, NOT some distracting icons etc). Remove all that stamina bar beneath feet etc, or allow to hide. It’s a game. We want it to play and somewhat look like a proper game, but crazier, and I’m controlling it. I play side on for the same reason. And that’s why you pay more to sit their live. Breaking the line side on feels 5x better etc. Yes done both ways. Started up and down like most juveniles. But thank God for progression and epiphany, right?

    People want variability and controlled chaos. They want to be allowed to try it on and play their way. It is a GAME. Stop limiting a game, then saying it is realistic. It is in fact boring and flowless. The real game is awesome. The console game should magnify that.

    Do NOT delay due to shambolic RLWC and England and Johnson’s mismanagement of Covid. Just have create a tourno and the teams etc and people can create it themselves. Use the budget for gameplay as rights are irrelevant now if use community hub etc with voted for teams. Just ensure to ban rugbyforum trolls etc to do inferior ones and vote them up inhouse as this gives a false impression their teams are the best. Perhaps the game’s makers should choose. OR get licences.

    Deal with perfecting the on the pitch variation, collision detection only at exact contact, late passes and passing, offloads at ANY point not after a set delay, and sidesteps that fool a defender’s line or grasp – FREE of a million time repeated them miss you and you beat them pre-set animation that sees you slow to a stop etc. Use the ease of fends (back and sideways etc) you see in Rugby Champions. A Steam game that is so limited, but flows better than all the RLL games. Why? Gameplay. Have you stepped 7, thrown 8 passes and 4 offloads, fended say 4, oh and slipped through the odd tackle as a matter of course (I mean Heaven forbid right RLL!!??), all in one sweeping movement from your own line in any league game except maybe RLL2 after 500 games… (Cos you can in Rugby Champions and it is a 20 buck steam title)… and even then only playing hard AI would need that and sadly many played lvl 3 or bragged and played CHEESE AI on lvl 5, when being very good and knowing the controls innately and playing lvl 4 of 5 versus loaded sides on RLL2, was in fact the best RL experience on a console. I have owned and played them all (every RL and RU game released). I know what works. Please ignore others’ desire to simply proffer their opinion willy nilly, and embrace my instructions? Thank you.

    A 9 out of 10 rugby league game will sell massively! RL is by its nature a far more suited to gaming sport than nearly any other team sport.

    We have waited long enough. Please release it on PS4 and 5 and on the system with the controllers like blimps (No, I have big hands actually), and let’s get on with releasing an overdue and anticipated title, which the RL and gaming communities in NZ, Aus, Britain etc have been more than patient waiting years and years for.

    1. Totally agree with most of what you’ve written. RLL2 was a great game. Personally, I am very fond of RLL3, as well. These should be seen as the starting off point for whatever the new game may be. They only need slight alterations, especially for next-gen consoles, to be a huge improvement.

      I agree with what you’ve said about perfecting what happens within the game and allowing for more variation and better subtleties for contact/passing/offloading etc.

      Hopefully the extended time it’s taking to roll the game out means they are focusing on gameplay. But i have my doubts…

      I guess time will tell.

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