The battle royale genre is enjoying a great deal of hype right now thanks largely to the advent of Fortnite. Epic Games’ flagship title has racked up 250 million players, turned streamers like Ninja into multimillionaire celebrities and been cited in divorce proceedings due to its addictive nature. Apex Legends has since muscled its way in and it is soaring in popularity, while stalwarts such as PUBG remain popular among gamers. The battle royale genre is riding the crest of a wave and developers are desperate to break into this lucrative market, while gamers cannot wait to get their hands on the next big title. Here are five to look out for in the months ahead:
Daybreak was due to release this eagerly anticipated title on March 26, but it was delayed until the summer for fine-tuning. It is a massive scale, match-based sci-fi arena shooter featuring a battle royale mode, along with 250 v 250 battles. “We’ve always envisioned PlanetSide Arena as a way for players to experience the epic gameplay of the PlanetSide universe, through fast-paced, combined arms combat and massive-scale multiplayer modes,” said Daybreak in a statement. “We believe that delivering the most polished version of PlanetSide Arena that meets these expectations, on both platforms, outweighs any other consideration.” It ended up refunding pre-orders and cancelling the battle royale’s initial Founders Season, but that has not diminished the hype surrounding the game, as the PlanetSide series has proved very popular over the years. PlanetSide Arena features a streamlined loot system, a shrinking battleground, reworked guns, spacebucks, jetpacks and orbital strikes, and fans of the series cannot wait for the fast-paced, epic action to begin.
Mavericks is designed to be the largest scale shooter on the planet, a 1,000-player next-gen battle royale on the sprawling Isle of Dern. It has a huge, dynamic map featuring everything from mud-drenched plains to flaming ruins, underpinned by spatialOS architecture. Developer Automaton promises it will be four times the size of size of PUBG, with a social hub set in a capital city on the island adding a fun new dimension to proceedings. Typical matches will take place with 400 players, but it can go up to 1,000, and that is a headline-grabbing figure. The release is slated for later this year. “We’re very, very aware of the huge number of players that we’re expecting and we’re working to support that,” said Automaton chief executive James Thompson. It is a battle royale game, but it is also a virtual world for players to explore. The plan is to expand the game and offer full, open world gameplay where factions and clans fight in a more persistent fashion. The graphics are gorgeous and the gameplay looks extremely exciting, so this one could become a real powerhouse in the genre.
This upcoming title from Proletariat takes the battle royale genre in a different direction by focusing on epic magic combat as opposed to gunplay. Players can weave spectacular spell combos and create strategic structures in their battle for victory. It brings RPG elements and magic to the battle royale format and that should ensure it attracts plenty of fans from across the gaming spectrum. The rogue-like mechanics look really interesting, while the flashy spell effects, the fantasy art and the fireball explosions provide wow factor. Battle-mages will face off in a ruined fantasy landscape, increase their skill levels, gather artefacts and become more powerful as it develops. There are runes that allow players to fly, become invisible and rapidly transport across the map.
“We’ve been hard at work nailing not only the visceral feel of magic combat while keeping the skill cap high, but still being accessible to all sorts of gamers all while leaving players with plenty of meaty decisions to chew on both in and out of the game,” said co-founder Dan Ogles. The game uses the Unreal Engine 4 from Fortnite developer Epic Games, and Proletariat has used stunning animation and artwork to create a unique world. The biggest challenge for the battle royale genre is to crack the lucrative esports market, which has become a huge phenomenon replete with massive tournaments, global superstars and Unikrn esports betting on the action. The biggest titles are the likes of Dota 2 and LoL, while Fortnite is desperately trying to muscle its way in. This game could combine the best parts of multiplayer online battle arena titles and battle royale games and create a compelling new esport.
Ashes of Creation: Apocalypse
Ashes of Creation is an ambitious MMORPG and it comes with a battle royale mode called Apocalypse. A beta has already been released for testing while developer Intrepid Games works on improving the back-end infrastructure.
Apocalypse should remain a fixture of the offering and the plan is to have this battle royale mode running 24/7. It takes place in a colourful, medieval fantasy setting and it also features fireballs and runes, with spells and abilities, which could eventually put it on a collision course with Spellbreak and Egress.
Out of Reach: Treasure Royale
This looks set to become a really fun addition to the battle royale genre as it pits dozens of pirate crews against one another on the open sea, on jungle islands and in dark caves. You can navigate your ship, hunt treasures, find new gear, swig rum and wipe out your enemies. The pirate genre is also alive and well right now, so it seems only natural to combine it with battle royale. It comes from Polish developer Space Boat Studios and it certainly looks like it could be a swashbuckling success if they crack the gameplay.