Over the last year since the arrival of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the Battle Royale game type has become one of the most popular game modes in the business, inspiring several newcomers to join the fray with their own titles or to add a Battle Royale expansion to their existing game.
Basic premise is old school Mad Max Thunderdome – 100 men, women & children enter, 1 lives to tell the tale. You’re either randomly spawned or thrown from plane (in Fortnite’s case it’s a rocket blimp bus) onto an island strewn with buildings, guns and explosives and try to outlive the other players.
In most cases the games have a mechanic that over time reduces the play area forcing the combatants together to stop each match turning into a three hour long game of hide and seek, usually a contracting ring of some sort where if you’re outside of it you take an increasing amount of damage the later into the game you survive.
The three big players in the Battle Royale genre which started and have exploded this mode into popularity are PUBG, Fortnite and H1Z1 which I’ll outline below, followed by a breakdown of some of the new big Battle Royales joining the scene very soon.
The game which started the genre. 100 mercenaries are flown over an island and choose when to parachute out. You land, find guns and armour and start hunting down other players. You can find mods for guns as you go along, extra grips, sights and stocks that increase the utility of the weapons and reduce the recoil making them easier to shoot etc.
Every three minutes after you land, the zone contracts focusing on the highest population of the surviving players, making the more
remotely positioned players return to the main group. To travel long distances you can use vehicles found strewn around the map but as they’re extremely loud you have to offset the fact you’ve just alerted everyone to exactly where you are.
The current leader in the Battle Royale genre and definitely the largest growing and most updated game of the big three with weekly additions, challenges and game modes being introduced. The reason why it’s the fastest growing game of the three is that it’s free! Funded by a cosmetic only item shop where you can buy pretty outfits for your character. You can earn some through levelling up, and the high level skins are seen as a badge of honour and skill. I play this game a lot myself and if I see someone with a John Wick or Raven skin I tend to run the other way knowing that they’ll swat me aside like the nooby little fly I am!
The key difference to this game over the other Battle Royale games is that you can build. You gather wood, brick and metal to construct ramps, walls and floors that allows you to climb mountains, build cover in fights and gain the high ground on your opponents. Fights are lost more often than not by the enemy out-building the player, rather than out-gunning.
In both Fortnite and PUBG you can play solo, duos and squads of four, but in Fortnite they regularly introduce extra game modes.
Currently they have a 50v50 mode where from the beginning of the game you see where the final zone will be on the map and you have to rush to take control of it. And another mode called ‘Solid Gold’ where all the weapons are the legendary rare powerful guns.
H1Z1: King of the Hill
The Battle Royale mode for the sandbox zombie survival game. This game, whilst still popular, has gone to seed slightly since Fortnite’s arrival. Released between PUBG and Fortnite, it’s where a lot of players went to get more from the genre after PUBG’s arrival.
While you can also play solo and duos in this game, squads are five man instead of 4 like the other two games and you start each match with 150 players instead of 100. It also has an Auto Royale mode, where squads of five roam the map in vehicles collecting power-ups that add armour, damage, speed and repairs to the vehicles to take on the enemy.
Joining the Royale family soon
Battle Royale is definitely the new big thing in gaming with over 20 big notable franchises jumping on the band wagon; could this finally be the end of Zombie Mode being put into every shooter?
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – One of the giants of the gaming industry, marking Battle Royale as here to stay now they’re joining in. This will be an interesting one to see as they say they will be including all the vehicles into this mode. It’s going to be hard to keep the game balanced and fair when a player has an Apache attack chopper…
Paladins – Another interesting one joining the Battle Royale scene. Paladins is a 6 v 6
team shooter/moba (Multiplayer online battle arena). Each of the characters has its own unique abilities instead of picking up weapons found on the map, so it’ll be interesting to see how that’ll play out. It also hints at a possibility that Overwatch could mirror this move in the future, as they’re the market leader in the shooter/moba market.
The Darwin Project – This takes a slightly different approach introducing an element of reality TV where a ‘Director’ dictates challenges that players need to complete mid fight as well as determining which areas of the map become inhospitable next. The
Darwin Project is available now on Steam early Access and Xbox One’s Game Preview.
There are about 20 more Battle Royale games scheduled for release in the next year, it’s going to be interesting to see if the current big games can keep their popularity with so much competition in the market.