By Pavo Jurkic
January 4, 2019
There’s no video game genre that came close to making such a huge impact on the gaming industry like battle royale. This relatively new genre is now in full fledge, already at the top of the food chain as far as the player count is concerned. Even though many people hate it (I also want to hate it but I just can’t…), battle royale genre is here to stay.
Whether we like it or not, Fortnite and PUBG, by far the most popular battle royale games, have already established themselves in the history of gaming industry. So, I guess we might as well take a closer look at the history of battle royale games then… After all, having 100 players jump out of a flying bus/plane doesn’t seem like an idea that can come overnight, right?
The history of battle royale games goes a long way back. Longer than most of you think! The roots can be drawn back to a Japanese cult classic Battle Royale, whose name was later borrowed for the actual genre that followed.
Hunger Games’ huge popularity back in 2012 led to a worldwide craze for last man standing mods. The first of many was Minecraft Hunger Games mod made by mlamascese52. Later came more adult-like games such as H1Z1, ARMA III, and the latest battle royale hits.
That said, we can’t think of this genre’s history as a long, uneventful tale because it quite clearly isn’t. With a whole heap of mods, video games and movies to learn from, the processes behind battle royale’s development were as comprehensive as they come.
So, let’s see which movies, video games, and their respective mods helped in the forming of battle royale genre we all know and love today.
Starting off with movies, there are two notable titles that kicked off the entire battle royale craze. The first of them bears the name Battle Royale, with the genre being almost like a homage to this cult classic. Let’s check both of them out real fast!
Battle Royale is the name of a Japanese cult classic film portraying the story of a high school class which gets sent to an isolated island where they have to fight to the last man standing. Back in those days, this movie caused a lot of controversies not just in Japan but in the States and the rest of the world as well. But, besides causing controversy, this movie also served as an inspiration to Hunger Games and the most popular name-snatching video game genre of today.
Released twelve years after Battle Royale, it’s no surprised Hunger Games borrowed some things from the Japanese cult classic. Sure, the story and the plot location and settings are vastly different, but the essence is the same – a group of people gets sent to an isolated location to fight to the last man standing. The popularity of the first movie paved the way for three additional sequels, all of which played a part in the making of battle royale genre.
After the movies had their say, it was time for the creative minds of gamers from all over the world to unite and create battle royale mods in their favorite multiplayer games. It’s no secret these mods paved the way for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to become a standalone game after being a highly popular ARMA III mod.
Believe it or not, your neighborhood-friendly blocky game of Minecraft is one of the first multiplayer games to have battle royale(ish) mods available. Inspired by the highly popular movie, Minecraft Hunger Games servers and maps were quite the craze back then. They incorporated interesting ideas, some of which have transferred to other, more serious titles, such as ARMA series.
Both ARMA II and ARMA III had several last man standing mods available. The most notable ones at the time were DayZ and PlayerUnknown’s Battle Royale. Both of these games saw the light of day as standalone titles… but we all know which of the two emerged as the winner.
Last step of the road – video games! We can’t talk about the history of battle royale games without mentioning the two most popular battle royale games – PUBG and Fortnite. Alongside these two, there are many more takes on the battle royale genre but none of them are hitting the sweet spots. In recent times, the best competitor seems to be CS:GO Danger Zone mode. Valve made a couple of big risks with this one, but it seems as though it’s paying off.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a standalone battle royale game made by PUBG Corporation and Bluehole Studio. The base of the game was Brendan Greene’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds mod for ARMA III which was dubbed as one of the most popular mods at its peak. When talking about popularity, PUBG mobile has just recently broken a record for more than 400 million registered players and 10 million daily users. Crazy numbers for a mobile game, right?
Aaaah… Fortnite – the global frenzy that’s seemingly never going to end. Believe it or not, Fortnite has “just” 200 million registered players which is quite the feat coming from a relatively new title. The unique thing about Fortnite is its cartoony art style and building mechanics, both of which make it an easily recognizable game for both games and non-gamers.
The latest of the bunch – CS:GO Danger Zone, is massively different from both PUBG and Fortnite. It’s set on a much smaller map with less than 20 players onboard. The matches are smaller too, lasting 10ish minutes on average. There’s no building like in Fortnite or driving mechanics like in PUBG.
Instead, CS:GO Danger Zone bases itself around a purchase system with Amazon-like delivery drones flying all over the map. Danger Zone is a fresh take on the already well-saturated battle royale genre… A take that seems to be doing quite well out there.
At the end of it all, we come to the conclusion that the history of battle royale games is as intriguing and captivating as the games themselves. In fact, I’m sure many of you didn’t even know it all started with a cult classic movie bearing the Battle Royale name.
Throughout these last couple of years, all highly popular mods of online shooters were somewhat influential to the two most popular battle royale games of today – PUBG and Fortnite. Minecraft, DayZ, H1Z1… they’ve all had their impact on the end result of today’s battle royale genre. Perhaps the impact isn’t that noticeable at first, but once you spend more time in all those games, I’m sure you will realize what I’m talking about here.
To wrap it all up – the history of battle royale games has several twists in its tale. It wasn’t just one big push and here comes the genre we all know and love today. Nope! It was a series of small ideas and alterations, implemented and improved over and over again, together creating the most popular video game genre.
Tags: Battle Royale