Publisher: Epic Games
Developer: Epic Games; People Can Fly
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS
The irony of this should not be lost on anyone.
I am sure that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a fantastic title- you don’t get to selling over 10 million copies, setting all manner of records, and winning rave acclaim from everybody, if you aren’t meeting a certain standard of quality, after all. However, let’s get some things very clear.
a) This is an accumulative and iterative industry- everybody builds upon ideas from other games and developers (and in fact, that is the only reason we have seen games advance as much as they have- because developers have taken things other games have done, and tried to build on those things); b) PUBG itself is a pretty blatant derivative of H1Z1: King of the Hill (and is in fact directed by one of the same folks who worked on that game).
All of which is to say- of course other developers will try to follow in PUBG‘s wake. That kind of thing happens in the industry all the time, PUBG itself was a result of that kind of thing happening. Ergo, developers Bluehole Games have no real right or moral standing to go about calling other developers off for making games or modes in a similar vein.
And yet, that is what they have done. In a statement released today, the developer expressed its concerns and dissatisfaction at Epic making Fortnite‘s Battle Royale mode so similar to PUBG, and citing PUBG in its marketing.
“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 statement reads, citing the game’s structure, gameplay loop, and UI elements as the areas of contention here.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.” Epic does indeed cite H1Z1: King of the Hill and PUBG as inspirations for the Battle Royale mode- just as so many other developers cite games such as Skyrim, GTA, Far Cry, Zelda, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, and Mario as their inspirations, and openly name drop them when promoting their own games.
This sort of thing happens all the time in the industry. Bluehole should be flattered that they have basically created a genre that others want in on. Instead, they are threatening legal action. “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”
This is entirely ridiculous- hopefully Bluehole comes to its senses on this one, because they’re not going to find many backers on this one.