Has the World Reached 'Peak Battle Royale Games'?
Whether you like it or not, Battle Royale games have really been dominating the charts in recent years. Games like Fortnite have become the latest craze for gamers of all ages, but even hugely popular genres have their good and bad points.Going into this examination of the genre and why it's become so popular I will try to be as impartial as possible. I should warn you though - Battle Royale games are not my cup of tea!Let’s begin, shall we?
The History of Battle Royal Gaming
For those of you who live under a rock, here's a loose definition of a 'Battle Royale' game. A set number of players, usually between 60-100 depending on the game, are dropped onto a map without any combat equipment. They then have to traverse the area on a hunt for weapons and take out other players as they go, all while trying to keep inside the ever decreasing play area. The goal is to be the last person standing at the end of the game.The huge popularity of the most well-known Battle Royale games to date, PUBG and Fortnite, has the potential to change the landscape of gaming. Other developers are following suit and hopping on the Battle Royale bandwagon. Recently released games ranging from the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to Battlefield V have introduced Battle Royale modes in post-launch content updates. Even more recently, Realm Royale and Apex Legends take clear inspiration from Fortnight and PUBG.We've even seen classic games like Tetris getting in on the Battle Royale action - TETRIS!
The introduction of Fortnite as a free-to-play game was quite frankly an impressive move. It opened up gaming to people who couldn’t afford or didn’t wish to pay, £50+ for a single game. Any paid add-ons are purely aesthetic items.Fornite has also created a whole community of gamers who are streaming matches and sharing videos online - sometimes accumulating tens of thousands of views. The game's cartoon look seems to appeal to all ages, with a mixed group of skills and abilities able to play against each other for the ultimate title. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert in order to do well (ish) at these games.
The game's popularity also means that Battle Royale eSports competitions are now everywhere. Take the “Fortnite World Cup” for example. According to EpicGames, there are hefty prizes to be had: “The top 100 Solo players and the top 50 Duo teams from around the world will join us for the Fortnite World Cup Finals in New York City July 26-28 with a $30,000,000 prize pool up for grabs! Each one of those players will be guaranteed at least $50,000 and the Fortnite World Cup Solo Champion will walk away with $3,000,000”. That is an insane amount of money for a company to willingly part ways with, especially when the game has only been out since July 2017. But, when you consider that the game has generated an estimated $2.4 billion in 2018 alone it’s not all that surprising. Which brings us onto the bad …
Microtransactions. Ugh.There has been some real controversy around microtransactions recently, especially where gamers have already paid out of their own pockets for the game itself. Free-to-play games like Fortnite, however, depend on microtransactions to survive. Fortnite has managed to develop microtransactions into 'V-bucks' - bought for your/your parents' real, hard-earned money. V-Bucks can be used in the game to customise your character with skins, parachutes and dances. As we've touched on, this won't affect your ability to play the game, but without the latest gear, you'll be seen by other players as kind of uncool.
Another aspect of Battle Royale games which doesn’t appeal to many is that it lacks the drive you get with a game that has a rich storyline. It’s not unrealistic to expect some stories to take over 100+ hours to complete these days - I’ve lost count of the number of hours I’ve invested into my PlayStation by getting lost in the story. I feel that with games where the sole game mode is Battle Royale, the format can get stale quickly, requiring more DLC packs and add-ons. You can soon end up paying far more than you would for a standard game on a title that is supposed to be free-to-play.Tell us what you think in the comments below! Are Battle Royale games just a fad that will be gone and replaced by the next big thing, or are they here to stay?
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