By the end of today, players on the PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One will be able to enjoy Fortnite Battle Royale, standalone and free-to-play. But last week, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole Inc. didn’t seem too happy about this supposed copycat game. In a press release from several days ago, Bluehole vice president and Battlegrounds executive producer Chang Han Kim said that the developer was “contemplat[ing] serious action,” leading many players to believe that Bluehole was laying claim to the battle royale genre. This isn’t exactly the case, as Kim tells PC Gamer:
“So the first thing that I’d like to clarify is that this is not about the battle royale game mode itself. There were other BR gamemodes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5’s battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue, and I think it’s great that there’s more competition and everyone should be able to create their own battle royale game mode, and it’s not about the idea itself, it’s about Epic Games, and that wasn’t really clear [in the press release].”
Bluehole’s messaging was a bit bungled last week, as the developer’s ire stems more from their relationship with Fortnite developer Epic Games, rather than the gameplay of Fortnite Battle Royale itself. Kim continues:
“We use Unreal Engine to develop PUBG, and we pay a large amount of royalties based on the size of our success to Epic Games, and Epic Games always promoted their licensing models [saying] ‘We want to support the success indie developers,’ and [Bluehole is] this indie developer that has been the most successful one using the Unreal Engine this year, and that’s the problem that I see.”
So in the end, much of this comes down to respect from a mainstream developer (Epic) to an independent developer (Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene and Bluehole). Bluehole had no knowledge of this new game mode prior to the announcement, learning about the news from the press, with Kim adding: “What I think is, they should have at least came to us before making it and had a discussion with us.” WIth Epic name-dropping PUBG in the Fortnite announcement, Bluehole was concerned that players would assume that the indie developers were on board, even though they were ultimately left in the dark.
No word yet on what Bluehole’s “action” will be—as of this PC Gamer interview, Epic Games had not responded to Bluehole’s reaching out. For now, players can try Fortnite Battle Royale for themselves, while we continue to think of other games that can go battle royale, too. We’re thinking Rabbids.