OPINION – We see another genre fad. As with zombie games a few years ago játékok (Zombi U, Dying Light, Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, Left 4 Dead 2, Dead Rising 3…), now we see Battle Royale be so popular: only one can remain. (It doesn’t matter that Unreal Tournament already did something like this in ’99 with its Last Man Standing mode…)
So this fad, which is now mostly headed by Fortnite: Battle Royale (Epic) and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Bluehole), will get its bandwagon stacked with other publishers, such as Activision.
We’ve got to have money
„New battle royale modes […] have also brought tens of millions of completely new players into gaming both on traditional platforms like console and PC, but also on newer platforms for the genre like mobile. We are very, very encouraged by this,” Activision‘s COO, Coddy Johnson said.
„The battle royale mode is contributing to the innovation and expansion we’re seeing in the industry. It’s not only bringing the younger audiences and millions of new gamers into the shooter genre where we’re already a leader in the space but importantly, it’s also highlighting the ability to bring immersive gaming experiences like battle royale to mobile in both Western and Eastern markets,” Spencer Neumann, Activision’s CFO added.
„When we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we are very quick to figure out how to capture inspiration from innovation. When we see things that appeal to our audiences, we are very good at being inspired by those,” Bobby Kotick, Activision’s CEO said.
I didn’t quote these three people to get a thousand characters added to my tally (the lack of motivation is an important aspect after all!), but also because Activision Blizzard talked about the genre for a good reason. Regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, which will be properly revealed on the 17th, had rumors saying that Treyarch was late developing its usual campaign (…?), and thus, the shooter might get a Battle Royale mode, which could also see a release on the Nintendo Switch on its own…
Money is such a beautiful word
„This is a game that is not going to just build on our strengths. It will need to push the envelope in innovation,” Johnson says about Black Ops IIII, which is almost 100% likely to use Battle.net on PC because even Destiny 2 has utilized it last year. I still have to use another quote from Neumann, as it still fits our topic and it needs to be mentioned: „We’ve seen some near-term impact from battle royale, but as you heard on the call today, our business continues to perform at record levels.”
So, in short, Activision sees what the battle royale genre can do (financially). And with it, they might pull in Electronic Arts, who already made DICE put together a prototype for Battlefield V’s battle royale, and even Ubisoft asked Massive (The Division) to look into the genre.
It all means that battle royale is going to be a serious trend with even mobile involved (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite already have them covered!), and it COULD mean even more money for the publishers. However, they will have to work hard to stand a chance against Fortnite: it’s also available on PlayStation 4 (while PUBG isn’t), plus it’s a free-to-play title. Price, as always, could play a significant role here.
Money is power; if it were food it’s a dish I’d devour every hour
The future…? Well, I think battle royale is going to close this generation. The trend will run out until 2019 or even 2020, but with all balloons, this one will also pop eventually. Sure, the PlayStation 5/next Xbox could also try it, but I don’t think the genre will have as much of importance as it has right now, and it will slowly fade away as the zombie games have done in the past few years.
If Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII will indeed have no campaign (AND its battle royale mode does show up on the Switch as a standalone release), there will be a few angry comments under the announcement trailers on YouTube, but then it will still sell millions of copies, as the name always sells even garbage. Activision only wants money – there is no revolution here, their engine still has its roots in John Carmack’s Quake III engine (id Tech 3). I don’t think Treyarch is going to be capable of showing serious innovation, either – in 2013; we heard that Infinity Ward’s Ghosts would have a next-gen engine, fishes swimming out of our way, and so on, but all it was just bullshit PR-talk and nothing else. Make us surprised, and we shall eat the humble pie!
Get ready for this battle royale „era” – I personally have no opinion of the genre, as I don’t care about it at all, so I’d rather stay objective regarding it. (And I wasn’t asked to talk about it on its own anyway…) All major publishers will release either a game mode or a battle royale game in the next few years. All of them. I think even THQ Nordic will reveal a Fortnite/PUBG-clone. Oh, imagine their leaders swimming around in their money pools like McScrooge from DuckTales after releasing their positive (or record-breaking…) financial quarterly reports if they even add loot boxes to their games!
In short: Activision Blizzard will likely launch the next wave of battle royale this autumn. And we can’t do anything against it.
(The leads originate from the 1992 animated movie Tom & Jerry: The Movie, while the Activision bigwigs’ quotes are taken from GamesIndustry.)