The Rise of Battle Royale Video Games

By Randall McGee

These days, video games are widely played, by a large portion of the population. Video games vary greatly, and there are many kinds of games that are made and played. In the last few years there have been certain trends that stuck out above the others. One such trend is the large rise in the number of battle royale games, and people that play these games. The question remains, however, how these games rose to such popularity.

The point of origin for this genre lies in multiple spots, and isn’t a simple thing to pinpoint. However, as in most cases the genre originates in books and movies. There have been various popular books about this, and movies made based off of those books. The first of which is likely the one that gave the name to the genre, the book (and later movie) Battle Royale. The book was extremely popular, and was made into a movie which came out in 2000.

While this book put a name and a good bit of popularity to it, the thing that really sparked the fire was the book series The Hunger Games. The three part book series was extremely popular, with millions of copies of each sold. The four part movie series was even more popular, with even more people watching.

From the Hunger Games series sprung the development of multiple games surrounding the same kind of battle survival type of ideal. There were multiple, but the big ones were really Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and H1Z1, both highly popular and played by millions. These games gave rise to dozens of others similar to them, with interesting gameplay.

There were a few major differences between these games and the Hunger Games series, however. These differences were mainly the modes of how the players arrived to the battle royale and how the players acquired weapons and other tools. In the Hunger Games the participants all started in a circle, with the weapons and tools in the middle all bunched together. In the video games, players started off parachuting in, with weapons and tools scattered throughout the map, often concentrated in cities or urban areas. Another big change was that with almost all of these games, the map would have some sort of shrinking mechanism to force players closer to one another. These changes were likely made for a couple of reasons, being that it made it not so similar to the Hunger Games that people would take offense and that these changes made it feel more militaristic and like a video game. These changes also made the game less about outlasting the other participants and more about killing them as fast as possible to win the game.

With all this, PubG and H1Z1 still weren’t the height of the battle royale craze. These games were good, with a large following of millions, but they were mostly centered in the military shooting game kind of genre. They were limited to an older crowd that liked violent and competitive games. While this crowd was large, there was more potential to this game genre than just that crowd.

The height of the battle royale video games was when Fortnite came out and gained a large following. This game was a battle royale, but it was a much more cartoonish and animated game, which appealed to a much larger crowd of younger teens and less competitive and serious gamers. The game also had a wider array of mechanics, or possibilities of actions within the game. This included building, events, pve, and different game modes. This game appealed to a vast array of genres, and had a much higher following than PubG or H1Z1.

With Fortnite being one of the most popular games, and other battle royale games also being very popular as well, more and more games were made around this popular game type. Even the popular video game series Call of Duty Black Ops made a battle royale game, with much of the same mechanics as PubG and H1Z1. Spinoffs of Fortnite also occurred, but with how unique Fortnite was in the battle royale genre, nothing came close to competing with it if it wasn’t shot down by copyright lawsuits.

The genre of battle royale isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As with all things, it’s a matter of perspective; whether or not you’re a fan of the battle royale game type. If not, there are still plenty of other games being made and played by people all over, but not as many with so many being focused on battle royale games.