PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been, as I’m sure many of you are aware, a huge success during its Early Access phases on Steam, on a seemingly unstoppable sales trajectory that has seen it blaze past 10 million copies sold and deposing DOTA 2 from the top of Steam’s concurrent players list. With that kind of success, it’s no surprise that others are trying to capture even some of that market, just as we’ve seen with the proliferation of MOBAs and Trading Card Games over the last few years. It doesn’t help that PUBG is only on PC right now and has only announced an Xbox One console version after its finished in Q4 2017, meaning there’s a huge vacuum of interest for someone else to exploit.
Perhaps the most prominent instance of this has come from a slightly surprising corner in the last few weeks with Epic Games announcing a Battle Royale mode for their own Early Access game, the cooperatively minded Fortnite. Fortnite Battle Royale is set to be released free for everyone tomorrow on 26th September.
While Epic aren’t the only ones – GTA Online has a Battle Royale mode now, for example – PUBG’s developers Bluehole are not happy about how closely Fortnite replicates the Battle Royale formula. Bluehole vice president Chang Han Kim said that “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.”
He goes on to note that PUBG is built upon Unreal Engine 4, which is created by Epic Games, feels that the user interface is uncomfortably close to PUBG’s, and notes that Epic’s own announcement and promotional material reference PUBG as a major inspiration. The Bluehole team are “contemplating further action” because of this.
Then again, it’s not entirely clear what Bluehole can really do, as there have been countless examples of companies taking someone else’s ideas and implementing them in a separate game. Take, for example, the MOBA which spawned, much like the Battle Royale genre, from mods to other games. The only reason why Valve and Blizzard went to court over DOTA 2 was because of a trademarking dispute and nothing to do with gameplay similarities back to the DOTA mod.
Brendan Greene – AKA PlayerUnknown – had some fairly relaxed sounding views when asked about this, writing the following on reddit.
Other companies will of course enter the marketplace, but I would just hope they put their own spin on the game-mode and not just make a carbon copy!
I try not to worry about them to be honest and instead just concentrate on completing my vision for a battle royale game.