The Battle Royale genre in video games has been around for a few years as one of the biggest genres measured by playerbase and watchers in streaming platforms. Anyone who follows anything about games and their newcomers has at least heard some of the biggest names such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite or Apex Legends.
The name of the genre comes from the Japanese movie Battle Royale released in 2000, which is based on the novel of the same name. The idea of the games is quite simple. You are transported in some kind of a flying vehicle to drop from the skies to a battleground to fight against a variable number of other players. The goal is to be the last one alive. You obtain weapons and other useful items, usually called ‘Loot’ from the ground, containers or by eliminating other players. The loot is random so there is no use to land always on the same spot in hopes of getting good items or weapons. Usually, you play alone or in a team of three players, either random or with your friends.
The different games of this genre vary from each other, but the basic idea is always the same. The area where you are safe gets smaller and smaller as the time goes. The term is always different, either it is ‘the Storm’ or ‘the Gas’ which you must stay away from by staying in ‘the Circle’ or in ‘the Ring’.
Some might argue that the games are all the same, with just different gameplay variations and graphics. Nevertheless, the popularity of these games is huge. They are usually free-to-play and that might be one of the reasons for their success. They have a simple objective and anyone familiar with the first-person shooter games can adapt to them very quickly.
They are the biggest thing in the multiplayer games of our era, but this does not come without some negative effects. You could argue that after a while they are boring. You are basically playing the same map over and over again with the same objective and with a limited number of characters or abilities. Of course, this could be said from any first-person shooter game. While this is true, there are still some major problems with said Battle Royale games.
One way to see them is that they don’t really develop, or if they try to make big changes like Fortnite did, it is not always a success. Generally, people want to play something they are familiar with. The problem is, when you get bored with one Battle Royale game, you can always switch to another, which is basically the same thing wrapped in a new box.
Most of these games are free-to-play as I mentioned, so they rely on their playerbase to buy new ‘skins’ or other cosmetic items to make them profitable. Since these games are quite simple, most of the new content is in the form of the cosmetic items players can buy. This raises the question: are these games here to just make as much money as they can with as little time spent on making and updating them?
Other question is, will people eventually get bored of these games or are they here for good? If these games are not able to develop, the players might just drop them, and the genre could slowly die. Throughout times different game genres have been popular and dominated the scene. It is yet to be seen how long Battle Royale games will hold the throne. Some people may see them as cheap and boring, but for now they are the strongest titans of online multiplayer games.
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