Which Game Will Be the Last One Standing?

Dean Sanchez

With the meteoric rise of Epic Games’ Fortnite and PUBG Corporation’s Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the battle royale genre of video games is the most recent trend in the video game industry. The game’s are pretty simple: 100 players start the match in a flying ship and air-drop into different areas of the map. Once you step on the ground, it’s a scramble to find weapons, avoid the shrinking map area, and survive to be the last one standing.

The appeal is broad, with Fortnite especially being incredibly popular to nearly all age groups. If you walked through the halls of FMHS, you’d be guaranteed to overhear someone talking about how they got the game-winning kill by dancing on a guided missile in a John Wick costume. It’s unique and absurd scenarios like that which gives Fortnite its immense popularity. PUBG, on the other hand, relies on more realistic, tactical gameplay and a much slower pace than Fortnite. Both represent the dichotomy of this new genre but also it’s limits.

Ever since Fornite introduced its battle royale mode in July of 2017 and PUBG exited early-access in December, there have been numerous clones and other existing games have haphazardly added battle royale game modes. A recent release, Paladins: Battlegrounds looks like a blatant copy of Fortnite. The cartoonish art style is instantly recognizable and makes you wonder why you’re playing the cheap imitation. And game mechanics in both are nearly the same, with players finding loot in glowing chests scattered across the map and similar shooting mechanics. To be fair, PUBG isn’t wholly original either. It’s initially based on a mod for a military simulator shooter ARMA 2 and has evolved over the years into its standalone release.

As I mentioned before, the genre has spawned not only cheap cash grabs but has drawn some of the major publishers to see the potential profits from the genre. The next Call of Duty and Battlefield are both rumored to include battle royale mods. And in an interesting turn of events, the latest Call of Duty, “Black Ops IIII,” is leaving a traditional single-player campaign behind to facilitate the battle royale mode. The Battlefield battle royale likely wouldn’t be available at launch, according to industry sources.

But these battle royale games represent something much more than just a trend in the industry. Just one simple objective: be the last one standing. That one simple task has drawn millions and millions of people to any one of these games. Fortnite is nearly reaching the popularity levels of Minecraft, which is one of the best selling games of all time. These games are part of a cultural change with the youth leading the movement. It goes to show how incredibly popular something can become with the power of millions of high-school freshman and sophomores rallying behind it. Time will tell if the genre can maintain its momentum or risk being replaced by another new trend.