Gaming trends often follow a predictable cycle: a new game comes out, finds a following, and is picked apart by other developers hoping to replicate its success. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds quickly went through the first two steps—it's the most popular game in Steam history—so it's no surprise that Epic Games decided to kick start the third step with Fortnite: Battle Royale. The games are remarkably similar in design.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds publisher Bluehole noticed those similarities, and it's not happy about them. The company released a statement today in which it slammed Epic Games' decision to enter the "battle royale" market with the aptly named Fortnite: Battle Royale. It said:
“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” said Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc. “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”
Bluehole isn't wrong to be worried about other games chipping away at PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' success. This is going to sound weird, but bear with us. The game is popular because it's so popular. A large audience means players don't have to sit through long queue times, that people will watch others play the game on Twitch, and that even more gamers will buy the title just to see what all the fuss is about.
Other games could eat away at those numbers, which could have a domino effect. Fewer players means longer queue times, which means fewer players, and so on and so forth. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds swiftly became a juggernaut in the game industry despite only being available as an incomplete Early Access title. Maintaining that momentum—or at least making sure it doesn't reverse—is crucial to the title and Bluehole itself.
Still, it's hard not to think Bluehole shouldn't worry too much. The first and foremost reason is that this happens to all popular games. Remember when first-person shooters were called Doom clones? Surely you've also seen the so-called "Souls-likes" that have popped up since Dark Souls took the world by storm. Both of those franchises are fine—the latest Doom was quite popular, and so were later installments in the Souls series.
So, yes, Fortnite: Battle Royale puts a unique spin on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' core "battle royale" gameplay. But is anyone surprised that other developers would enter this market? And should Bluehole really be that worried about someone coming after the title's throne?
|Platforms||PC, Xbox One|
|Where To Buy||Steam|
|Release Date||March 23, 2017 (Early Access)|