PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was literally an unknown to me when I first heard about it from a coworker. It was just before E3 2017, and he told me I should check it out because he’d been having a ton of fun with it. I heard about it again at the PC Gaming Show 2017, when it was announced that vaulting was going to be coming to the game. The gaming PCs that were on display in the press area afterward were mostly playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds . It was at that moment that I realized this game was a bigger deal than I had thought.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ‘ player base has grown astronomically. At this point, most everyone who’s even remotely interested in games has at least heard of it. With that familiarity comes the recognition of the play style that Battlegrounds has now made famous. It’s original source is that of the battle royal, which is technically defined as just a fight or dispute between two subjects. Battle royal was popularized even further by pro-wresting. These are matches that pit many different wrestlers against each other in a fight to decide the ultimate victor. Whomsoever beats every single one of their competitors becomes the winner.
This concept of every person for themselves was also brought into pop culture by the film Battle Royale . The Japanese film showcases a group of students who are trapped on an island. They are told that only one of them can survive and escape. First, they must kill all of their fellow students. When only one of them remains, they will be declared the victor and given their freedom back. The film is based on a novel that was released in 1999. Battle Royale was also the biggest inspiration for The Hunger Games .
It’s thanks to these sources of inspiration that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds exists and has seen the popularity that it enjoys. 100 players are all pitted against each other on a massive map, and only one can be the winner. Much like anything else in popular culture and media, if something does well, you can bet your behind that everyone else is going to jump on the bandwagon. All sorts of games are including modes very similar to PUBG in an attempt to capitalize on the hype. Grand Theft Auto Online added a mode called Motor Wars that is basically a battle royal with vehicles. Another game ( Fortnite ) has added a mode to their game that is literally called “Battle Royale.” We all know that PUBG is the inspiration for these modes, whether the developers say so or not.
It’s a sad case of the video game industry doing everything it can to make money. Sometimes, that means simply copying your competition. Take a moment to think about how many trading card games exist right now. One or two are successful, so everyone else wants to throw their hat into the ring. The same seems to be happening here with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds . It’s doing insanely well, so everyone else has to get their game on the trending list too. Now whenever I see news for a new mode being added to an existing title, I assume it must be a take on PUBG .
I understand that the surefire way to sell games is to copy something that’s already done well. This hop on the band wagon style of game development can be really annoying, though. There’s nothing like seeing a new mode added to a game that you’ve already seen before. It feels like a cop-out to add a copy of someone else’s work to your game, rather than something new. Improving what is already there in your game would still be better. There’s a reason your teacher told you in school that copying off of other students’ tests is wrong. The same is true of video games. Stop copying your classmates! Your own original ideas are what we want to see.