Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene created a battle royale game mode in ARMA 2 long before it became known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The game has since broken many Steam records.
Enter Fortnite, a co-op sandbox survival video game developed by People Can Fly and Epic Games. The game is still in early release but the game has been getting good reviews and thousands of followers. The developers recently announced that a free-to-play Battle Royale game mode next week. The studio behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is not too happy, stating that it’s considering ‘further action’ due to similarities with PUBG.
Fortnite’s Battle Royale gameplay doesn’t just closely resemble PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In the announcement trailer for Fortnite: Battle Royale, Epic’s Donald Mustard says, “At Epic, were huge fans of the battle royale genre, and games like PUBG and H1Z1.”
In the official announcement for the new game mode, the Fortnite team even states “We love Battle Royale games like PUBG and thought Fortnite would make a great foundation for our own version.”
According to Bluehole’s Chang Han Kim, referencing their game on Fortnite’s promotions was never discussed with them saying they “don’t feel that it’s right”. Kim added, “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. 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.”
The press release notes that PUBG developers have “no relationship to Fortnite’s development as concerns around User Interface (UI), gameplay, and structural replication in the battle royale mode exist.”
Can you own a genre?
But was Epic Games wrong in creating a Battle Royale mode? The Battle Royale genre has been done before. Back in 1978, Intellivision released Armor Battle where players were put inside an environment and you have to win to the death until only the last man is standing.
Brendan Greene actually got his inspiration for creating PUBG on another ARMA 2 mod. DayZ is a 2009 multiplayer open-world third-person shooter mod forARMA 2. If you look at the two mods, there’s clearly a lot of shared similarities such as random weapons scattered over the map, a large group of players that have to hunt each other down, environments, and vehicles that you can bust.
According to Brendan Greene, “When I was in Brazil, I was saving to get home to Ireland,” Greene said. “I had married a Brazilian, divorced a few years later and then for the following four years I was kind of just living in Brazil because who doesn’t want to live in Brazil? Doing photography, design, DJ’ing… I started playing the DayZ mod, discovered all of that, and then I started making the Battle Royale mod itself.”
The concept of the genre is as old as gaming itself. To propose otherwise is to be willfully ignorant of the history of gaming.