'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' Dev Isn't Happy About 'Fornite: Battle Royale'

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.

'Fortnite Battle Royale' - Gameplay Trailer (Play Free Sept. 26!)

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?

NamePlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
TypeShooter
DeveloperBluehole
PublisherBluehole
PlatformsPC, Xbox One
Where To BuySteam
Release DateMarch 23, 2017 (Early Access)
Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
17 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • ibjeepr
    HELLO and welcome to Shark Tank!

    Shark 1: How many patents do you have.
    Dev: None.
    Shark 1: So any larger business can simply duplicate your success?
    Dev: No, we're special (listing irrelevant ways they think they're safe)
    Shark 1: I'm out; but welcome to the game industry.
    5
  • travis.eno
    In all honesty its just a better version of PUBG. In literally every way. It lacks features (For the moment) but the core of the game is much more solid and E-sports ready.
    0
  • clonazepam
    It's one thing for a dev to copy another dev, but to copy your own customer's success? I couldn't personally go that route, but they can and will obviously do whatever they want.

    In the end, they can simply say their Fortnite customers demanded a Battle Royale mode and so they provided, simple as that I guess.

    Edit: Imagine the scenario where you're designing a game with the UE and you're contacting Epic, sharing your ideas, because you need their technical expertise to get the engine to do what you need it to, or you simply encounter bugs in the engine that inevitably lead to some sharing of ideas or concepts during the reporting process, and down the road, there's your game mode in one of their titles. I'm not suggesting that's the case here, but that has to be in the back of the minds of anyone considering using it from here on out. It'd be like a swift kick to the chest that sends you through plate glass.
    -1