Whether in PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds or Fortnite, more than one hundred people simultaneously launch themselves into a field to search for weapons and equipment. Apex Legends is another title that joins the action, breaking records previously established, with millions of players in their world. Those elements define the genre of Battle Royale, where the last person standing, is the one who wins. And the most interesting thing is that the history of the Battle Royale games goes back only a couple of years ago.
Battle Royale went from being an unknown mode to a game phenomenon in less than two years. The massive popularity of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) became one of the main novelties of the genre in 2017, as it sold more than 50 million combined copies on Xbox and PC until June 2018. The free PUBG Mobile game has accumulated numbers an more impressive, bringing the total player account for the various platforms to more than 400 million.
Meanwhile, the idea of the idea of Epic Games to play for free, Fortnite Battle Royale, has gained an even greater public. Fortnite obtained a record number of concurrent players in February (breaking a record set by PUBG), and broke the connected audience levels at the same time on Twitch.
Simon Darveau, creative director of the game The Darwin Project, told us that the success stories of Fortnite and PUBG will attract many more imitators. Apart from its incredible popularity, Darveau says battle royale probably attracts developers because it doesn't really take much to create or adapt an existing project into something that could be considered a Battle Royale game. The set of existing rules is an easy thing to add to any new game, and other elements, such as open maps and weapons are not difficult to develop.
"Every intellectual property you know that includes a competitive game can have a Battle Royale mode," Darveau said. “Because they can, they will. And because everyone will, the market will saturate and be perceived as a bubble that could explode at any time. ”
But for many of the developers who have already launched Battle Royale games, it is proud that their games are the ones that marked the beginning of the popularity of this genre and pushed the line for the entire video game industry.
BRIEF HISTORY OF BATTLE ROYALE
The Battle Royale format did not appear overnight in PUBG and Fortnite. The genre, as we know it, was born in large part of the multiplayer modes in open world survival games. It quickly became a kind of trend game among PC players who hit a cspide just a few years ago. Games like DayZ, Z1 and Rust left players in hostile territory infested with enemies like zombies and other players, forcing them to rely on their ingenuity to find or create the elements they needed to stay alive.
Much of the Battle Royale style emanates from the games that hosted the first iterations of the genre. When two players bump into each other in these games, it is never clear what could happen. One player can kill the other and steal his things, or two people can join and become friends. There is also the possibility of reaching a friendly agreement, only for one player to betray the other later.
We think of Battle Royale primarily as a type of first-person shooting and action, but the first of these mods was made for Minecraft. A competitive version of the game inspired by the films of Hunger Games, called Survival Games, gained popularity and that community spread the idea.
Social interactions between players in survival games inspired modders to create more competitive new scenarios to bring them together. Brendan Greene, the creator of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, builds similar mods for games like DayZ and Arma III.
"I loved the interactions we had," Greene said. “You can meet another group in a city, and there will be an interaction with them, whether good or bad. And I loved the idea that you are not dealing with A.I. (artificial intelligence), you are not dealing with a predictable mechanical character, you are dealing with other people. And that's a lot of fun, because there are some crazy and weird people out there. ”
THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Greene's mods helped crystallize many aspects of Battle Royale as a type of game, including the reason for its name. Greene named his survival shooter mods inspired by Battle Royale, a classic Japanese movie, where a group of high school students are forced to fight to the death until only one survives.
Greene also created an official mod for the Z1 zombie survival game, and his popularity led the Daybreak developer to create his own Battle Royale mode for the game. In a short time, Z1 turned his zombie survival mode into another game, focusing completely on the real battle, becoming the first game in the genre as we know it.
Meanwhile, Greene left to create his own title of Battle Royale, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) in early 2017. Epic Games followed PUBG later in the same year with Fortnite: Battle Royale, a competitive free game mode created for complement your cooperative zombie survival game. Over time, Fortnite has found immense follow-up. This is due in large part to its free game model, but also to its unique twist on the form. Using mechanics created for the original Fortnite mode, now known as Fortnite: Save the World, Fortnite Battle Royale adds construction capabilities similar to Minecraft that players can use to build their own fortifications.
WHY BATTLE ROYALE IS SO POPULAR?
What makes Battle Royale attract so many players? For Greene and Darveau, the extension of the genre to freedom offered by survival games, combined with the structure sufficient to boost fights, created an experience that players could not find in existing games.
"I think, especially with the battlefields, there is no right way to play," Greene said. “However, if you want to play, it's up to you. It is a challenge against other people. It's not something you can predict and I think those are the best interactions. ”
Anthony Castoro, general manager of Z1, said that the survival odds of Battle Royale also help to differentiate him from other genres of competitive games. Unlike most games in which players can die and then re-enter the game almost immediately, real battle games encourage survival. That is, the longer you stay alive, the more powerful you become.
"For a long time, there has been this fascination, especially with the main players, with what is known as permadeath," he said, referring to the idea that players only get a life in the games, and once they die, they lose All the progress. “And for the most part, as a conventional game designer, I resist that idea because, with the amount of investment you make in your character and the time you spend, that death will be a kind of abandonment event. But I think that Battle Royale works because it gives you the feeling of high risk without the type of long-term investment.