Ah Battlegrounds, are you ever not being talked about these days? Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds has been in the news a lot lately, for good and bad reasons. Most recently all everyone is talking about is; ‘is this a carbon copy’ or ‘did Fortnite rip off PUBG.’ To answer these, I’ll give you a bit of background on each of the games involved.
First up is Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds who most gamers would have heard of by now. The battle royale game sees 100 players parachute onto an island with an ever closing border with the aim to be the last man standing. You must loot for weapons and armour, kill other players and stay inside the circle to stay alive. If you don’t catch the circle in time you can drive cars, motorbikes and boats to get around the island quicker, as it will close faster than you can run. You can play by yourself in solo, in a duo or in a squad of 4. Now this is pretty standard for a battle royale game but PUBG has blown up more than any of the genre before it.
Then we have Fortnite, a zombie survival game in which players need to build forts and defend them from zombies. You can have teams of up to 4 players and choose between 4 classes; Fighter, Scout, Ninja and Engineer, all with unique abilities. Recently Fortnite added a battle royale game mode which will open free to the public without needing to buy the original game on Tuesday 26th of September. This game mode sees 100 player load into the
Battle Party Bus and skydive from it onto the map. You must then find weapons, ammo and even traps by looking in houses, or if you don’t want to use the door, knock down the wall. Some places won’t be accessible like attics and you’ll have to build ramps with the resources you got from knocking down that wall. Once landed the storm will start closing in, you have to stay within the eye of the storm to avoid taking extra damage. To win you must kill players and survive as the last man standing, you can build your own bases to take cover from enemy players once you’re in the eye.
Both these games are of the battle royale genre and both use the unreal engine which was made by EPIC Games, the makers of Fortnite. The criticism here is the PUBG community believe Fortnite has copied PUBG, let me start with a quote from Brendan ‘Player Unknown’ Greene.
“Oh yeah. Look, I don’t claim ownership. So, it’s a last-man standing deathmatch. That’s been around since people could pick up clubs and hit each other. I would never claim ownership over that. The ever decreasing circle – I couldn’t program squares like it is in the Battle Royale movie. The code for doing squares that shrink, I just couldn’t do it because I wasn’t a very good coder, right? So I moved it an ever decreasing circle that sort of moved around inside itself, because that’s how I could do it. I don’t even claim ownership on that. These are old ideas. I love to see what the genre has created. It’s various versions on something that I guess I popularised, you know? The idea itself is not mine.” – Brendan Greene, Rock Paper Shotgun interview
There have been many battle royale games over the years and while PUBG might be the biggest at the moment it was certainly not the first. Player Unknown himself even took the inspiration from the Japanese movie Battle Royale and catered it to his coding abilities.
Now before anyone starts pointing fingers, I have a feeling that some of the community making these accusations may have not heard of battle royale games before PUBG or at least have not played any others. It is all well and good to defend your favourite games from those who may wish to ride on the success or copy it, however, this just isn’t the case here. This infographic shows the ranking of different battle royale games in terms of concurrent players, as you can see there are many other games in the genre you’ve likely never heard of. Many games have introduced similar game modes over the years, improving the game mode overall and they have always been popular. While Fortnite would probably not exist if not for the success of PUBG, PUBG itself would probably not exist if not for H1Z1: King of the Kill which even Player Unknown worked on himself. Even then H1Z1 would probably not exist if not for the Arma 3 game mode and so on.
Chang Han Kim from Bluehole said he has no problem with the game mode itself but may take further action against EPIC Games because of the fact that they just didn’t talk to them about how they were promoting the game. The two companies have had an ongoing relationship throughout the development of PUBG as it uses EPIC’s unreal engine so it’s fair to say they could’ve had a chat about it somewhere. This being said, the uproar from the community about the similarities between the game does not seem to be a problem for Bluehole as battle royales are always going to be similar as they are the same genre. Even then the games are quite different; Fortnite has a much more arcade feel to it rather than the realistic scene that is PUBG (and it has rocket launchers). You can build and destroy your own and existing bases in Fortnite to make your own shelter, something you must find in PUBG but is vastly more common on the larger map.
A popular custom game in PUBG involves 1 team taking on the rest of the 96
players zombies in the lobby, however, to begin these matches you must often be a content creator to become a partner of PUBG. So instead of waiting for that to happen (I know we all want to be YouTubers) you could play the original game in Fortnite, already there waiting for you.
Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.