Battle Royale – The Fear For 2018

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Today is all about Battle Royale games & Battle Royale game modes. This will be a discussion of importance for 2018. 2017 was about the loot boxes & micro transactions and I believe 2018 will be about publishers & developers trying to force this game mode into their latest offerings. The question that will be asked is not whether other games could have this type of game mode…but whether it should.

With the extraordinary success of Player Unknown Battlegrounds and Fortnite, it is only natural for other developers to look towards these games and their popularity, and want to try and replicate this in their own games. Of course, the success of these games can be replicated in any genre providing that the game is of a high enough quality and also has the media coverage and positive word of mouth supporting it. But my fear for this year is that developers and some of their huge publishers will try and force battle royale modes into their games even to the point where more time is spent on this than on their single player campaign or ironing out multiplayer balance issues or using the time to include more items, weapons and content in the game which is what is most important. Furthermore, these publishers will force developers into tacking on these battle royale modes onto their games. This lessens the product as the developer could have no interest in wanting this in their game and yet they could be forced into including it only for the benefit of the publishers interests. When this scenario happens, gamers as a whole will lose.

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If you cast your mind back to early in the last console generation where we had Call Of Duty really make a name for itself with games based on World Wars. A few years after this we had the fantastic Modern Warfare games which lead gamers into the Black Ops era. Then it seems TitanFall launched, a fantastic, if not short lived FPS game in its own right, and Call Of Duty games went futuristic. This is fine in and of itself but after so many games in the series, or any series, gamers, developers and the publisher will all hit the same similar problems. Gamers will be over playing the same types of games. Developers are hearing the community discuss the situation and they would also like to work on something new, and publishers will be seeing declining sales.

Now, it is at this time where including a battle royale mode could really boost that bottom line and bring in the sales and new gamers to the franchise. The problem with this line of thinking is that its not about building a robust and passionate community surrounding the game, its purely jumping on what is currently new and shiny…

Short term gain that will lead to long term pain

New gamers to an established franchise are just as easily to jump off when the next big thing comes along, and existing fans of the franchise can feel taken for granted and a little hostile towards the game series, developers and publishers for forgetting or not catering to their core fans.

This is the fork in the road. Either the game series continues down this path or developers reconnect with why the game was made and found success to begin with. Before the huge sales, Before the millions of fans, Before the yearly releases….back when the passion for the project and wanting to see it come to fruition was the most important.

This is why especially in 2018 I don’t want to see an abundance of PUBG and Fortnite clones as it takes developers away from what they want to work on and what is ultimately best for gamers. Let PUBG have its success. Let Fortnite have its success. Don’t put battle Royale modes in call of duty or battlefield or destiny regardless whether the worlds and maps already created can handle it. Sometimes it’s about stepping back and telling ourselves that yes we can do it but… should we? For me, I still want faster paced multiplayer games and arena type shooters. There’s a market and a necessity for these just as there are with the battle Royale games. But just as I wouldn’t want PUBG or Fortnite to have enclosed small maps with twitch gameplay, nor would I want other games to suddenly have large open maps and slower gameplay.

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I want to be clear that I’m not against battle Royale games, far from it. I just don’t want their huge success to be the new fad for 2018 for if too many other games incorporate the modes and gameplay mechanics that the likes of PUBG and Fortnite do then that can only lead to fatigue with the genre for gamers. How many gamers out there are sick of futuristic multiplayer shooters? I don’t want to see any game with any type of gameplay mechanics become almost extinct due to over saturation or from the gaming community moving onto something else. I remember the great 2D adventure games from the 90s and how they met their demise due to the onset of 3D games and there being an over abundance of them. I don’t want our favourite franchises or battle Royale games becoming resigned to the pages of gaming history.

The more choice we have, the more freedom for developers to create how and what they want is what will drive the gaming industry forward and keep it growing for decades to come. For the next generation of developers to create what we could only dream of. That is why I don’t want battle Royale game modes in so many games. With developers tied up doing these, what are we foregoing in new ideas instead?

With the reemergence of 2D games in recent years, we are at a time in gaming where we have a huge amount of choice and quality. Why would we ever want to give that up for a large number of developers to be working on similar games or game modes? Do we want the likes of Call Of Duty or Halo to include a battle royale game mode? And for what reason? Does the game really lend itself to such a mode where it will add value to the franchise and to gamers? Or is it simply bolted on in the hopes it can find more success with a different group of gamers? A larger game, with more options which may not satisfy anyone. Brendan green created PUBG because it was something he wanted, a vision he had. A battle Royale game that has become a phenomenon.

We need the industry to show up and coming developers that the magic can still happen. Their visions can still become a reality. We need new ideas and developers to have the freedom to pursue them, not to have their time taken up by simply jumping onto what is popular at the time. Support these Battle Royale games, but don’t wish for similar game modes to be included in your favourite games. In 5 years time, you’ll only wonder what happened to your favourite game franchise and long for how it used to be. It’s a fine line between having more of a good thing, and beginning to resent what you once enjoyed so much.

Max Power
Writer
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This is Max Power! Long time gamer and always looking to talk about games. Follow me on Twitter and on YouTube!

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