It's no surprise that the exceedingly popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' (PUBG) battle royale formula would be subject to developers imitating it. After all, with its concurrent player base overtaking Dota 2 for a spell, it was just a matter of time. What is surprising, is how developer Bluehole has reacted to it after Gears of War and Unreal creator Epic announced that its game Fortnite, will be getting a similar mode.
“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” said Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc in a press release sent to the media. “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”
PUBG's team alleges that gameplay, structural, and user interface replication exists in Fortnite.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press,” Chang Han Kim continues. “This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
In a recent Reddit AMA session, PUBG creator Brendan Greene was asked about other companies replicating the Battle Royale experience:
“Other companies will, of course, enter the marketplace, but I would just hope they put their own spin on the game mode and not just make a carbon copy!”
Chang Han Kim closed, “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”
This is amusing for a host of reasons. For one, PUBG isn't the first game in the battle royale genre, other games, like H1Z1 and The Culling have been around for longer, with Daybreak - the company behind H1Z1 stating publicly that PUBG wouldn't exist without H1Z1.
Secondly, despite Bluehole's past run-ins with the law on matters such as corporate theft, the company's statement hints at possible legal action. Odd considering terms like 'metroidvania' and 'souls-like' are used often to describe games similar to Metroid, Castlevania, and Dark Souls.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how this pans out. With more developers keen on mimicking the battle royale formula, this probably isn't the last time we'll hear of Bluehole objecting to similarities.