Automaton Games CEO James Thompson came along with Improbable, Bill Roper, and Mavericks to this year’s E3, where I got a second chance to see how everything in the battle royale/MMO hybrid is doing since GDC. I know battle royale is a hot topic around here, and the reaction we saw at GDC did have me worried about Mavericks’ potential audience.
Thompson was quite eager to talk about Mavericks, especially its battle royale side, but as someone who’s much more of an MMORPG player, I felt the one key thing we found common ground on was that Mavericks is aiming to be less of a simple genre game and more of a “platform” to build on, not because of any strength of the BR or even MMO genre but because of its ability to run a simulation. For virtual world fans, this is something I feel we should be paying more attention to.
Outpost Games sent round a mailer this week announcing that SOS Battle Royale is now “free to play forever,” thanks to its latest patch, content update 4, which adds “a ton of new weapons, loads of new outfits, leaderboards, and a Season Pass through which you can earn great rewards.” Sounds nice, right?
Well, maybe take a jaunt over to Steam, where the game’s recent reviews have sunk to “overwhelmingly negative.” You’ll recall that the original idea behind the game was to toss 16 players into a map and have them play a 30-minute match to find a relic and escape in a helicopter, with up to three winners per match and the chance to coordinate via voice chat. There were plenty of survival mechanics along the way, including making your own weapons and traps to survive as the audience cheered you on a la Running Man.
The things Massively OP’s MJ will try… she blames it on Bree! All the boss had to do was point out an amusing skin for a battle royale and MJ was on board to show it off. Hence, we introduce to you Cuisine Royale! MJ fully admits that she was wanted to clobber someone with a waffle iron or frying pan, and now may be her big chance. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at the food fight in…
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 22nd, 2018
Alas, poor PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, we’ve entered the second phase of your musician biopic when the fans start leaving. Sure, the game was riding high in January with 3.2 million concurrent players on Steam. But we’re six months away from that now and the game is now down to 1.7 million concurrent players. These are clearly not numbers to scoff at, but they’re also easy to see as a sign that the game hits its peak and then has started turning downward.
What’s caused the drop? Lots of factors are obvious culprits, including the success (and free-to-play nature) of Fortnite and the simple decay of interest over time, but there’s no obvious magic bullet. Feel free to speculate about it whether you play or not. The game clearly isn’t about to die, but if you thought there was no upper limit on its playerbase, it looks like that’s been proven false.
Everyone is getting in on the battle royale craze, even SMITE
. The newest adventure is Medusa’s Deathmatch, and Massively OP’s MJ is jumping in for the first time to check it out. Join us live at 6:00 p.m. to see the gods’ version of battle royale. Will MJ be any better at it with gods involved?
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
After so very much build-up to the main event, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is finally ready to debut its brand-new Sanhok map on Thursday, June 22nd. The battle royale zone has gone through four rounds of testing, but that’s over now. The real fight is about to begin.
Sanhok is a four-square kilometer map that takes place on a Southeast Asian-themed island that’s a fourth of the size of the other two game arenas. Some of the locales on the island include an archaeological dig, a paradise resort, and a training camp.
“Although games tend to end a little more quickly on this tiny island, battles are still massive,” the devs promised. “Every game still features 100 players.”
The patch might be a good time for you to make good on that resolution to pick up the game, especially considering that it’s gone on sale for the first time ever. You can pick up PUBG on Steam for $20 through July 5th.
Be careful what you wish for! Apparently, Gaijin (you know it from WarThunder) ran an April Fools’ day joke mode for online shooter Enlisted that proved so popular that the company spun it out into a standalone battle royale game. But this one takes the PUBG frying pan and runs with it. Literally.
“Cuisine Royale is an all-kitchen-warfare Battle Royale game with the most honest system for Loot Boxes ever,” the devs write. “Dinnerware will finally be able to show off its true potential: Use a colander as head protection, equip a wok as a formidable breastplate, or strap on a massive waffle maker to be protected even against the largest calibers of weapons.”
Gaijin says the game will start off free-to-play and will “probably will become paid later to cover servers maintenance costs.” It’s also promising “the most honest system for loot boxes,” with free-to-open, fully transparent boxes “scattered around the battlefield.”
One thing Trion Senior Producer James Karras drove home during my meeting with the team at this year’s E3 is that with Trove’s Geode
update, the team is experimenting
. Yes, Battle Royale is happening, but it’s no threat to the main gameplay. Geode’s new world and its playstyle alone should allay those fears.
Specifically, the team wanted to introduce non-combat gameplay into Trove with planet Geode. It’s about exploration. It’s about helping small animals that are cold, injured, or hungry. It’s about rewarding everyone nearby you when you do good. While the game might seem more grindy, the idea is to give crafter and exploration types something that’s engaging for them, though clearly going out and killing will still be an option. I’m not even a Trove player, but I was quite excited to hear about the team’s design choices this time around.
You remember Save the World, right? The mode of Fortnite wherein you build a base and defend against zombies? The one that was supposed to be the entire focus of the game at one time? Because apparently it’s not in the latest port for the Nintendo Switch. The port only includes the battle royale portion of the game, and according to the developers there are no plans to change this.
So, you know, if you had been harboring any misapprehensions about the core focus of the game at this point, it may be time to let go of those illusions. It’s not a matter of the game just surprise-launching yesterday. In related news, the game reportedly has 125 million players, so it’s not hard to trace a line covering why the developers decided that porting the battle royale mode was the part that matters. Oh, well.
Battle royale is all the rage these days, but as we’ve been covering over the last few months, the SpatialOS-based Mavericks is aiming to bring a new approach to the wildly popular new genre: by making it truly massive, which by studio Automaton’s count means 1000 players in the same persistent world.
We got hands-on with the game at GDC, however, and had a hard time seeing how 1000 people made a significant difference in the gameplay in practice. “It’s much more for the battle royale crowd than the MMO crowd,” MOP’s Andrew wrote at the time. Hopefully, the E3 demo will change our minds.
Closed beta is expected to launch in August; you can already sign up on the official site. The company will also launch its founder system later this week. The splash page for that says lootboxes aren’t on the table, but there will be what looks like an optional subscription in the form of “citizenship” that unlocks “a variety of content within the game.” Check out the new E3 trailer below.
The battle royale genre isn’t really one overly concerned with story, but the team behind Rapture Rejects captured a pretty good premise. In short: The Rapture has happened, and the chosen have ascended to Heaven… and you weren’t one of the chosen. So now you’re trying to kill the other 99 people left behind in the same area in hopes of being so cool that you get let in anyway. Or just for something to do, either way.
It also manages to look different, as it’s a top-down isometric game with the art from the popular Cyanide & Happiness strip. You can check out the trailer just below if you’re in the market for a new battle royale game with a different style from top to bottom. Alpha signups are available on the official site, with the whole thing expected out sometime this year.
It seems weird to me now that the game we were preciously calling “Crowfall for PvE fans” at last year’s E3 has changed so drastically in that time that right now it’s leading the battle royale pack as one of the biggest games in the entire world.
But here we are at another E3, and Fortnite is all grown up, blazing ahead along Epic Games’ vector to get it on what seems like every platform known to man in an attempt to bedazzle the competition.
And that now includes the Nintendo Switch, as announced at the Nintendo presser at E3 today. As this post goes live at 1 p.m. EDT, the game will arrive for Switch players through the eShop, free-to-play as always. Yes, today. Right now.
Catch ’em if you can.
“Naughty players” who are dragging down Fortnite’s gameplay with griefing or frequent AFKing could now land themselves in some hot water, thanks to the first iteration of the game’s new player reporting system.
The devs are being cautious with this feature, as they don’t want it to be abused or create a whole mess of false positives. It will be handled manually by the team at first until it is confident that it’s useful enough to fully automate.
Today’s Patch 4.4 also includes the much anticipated ability to place traps on ramps and a helpful buff to melee fighters. But wait! There’s more! “The Thermal Scope Assault Rifle also makes its debut in Battle Royale, so be careful where you hide. Fight alongside a mysterious new mythic hero in the next installment of the Blockbuster quadrilogy, Blockbuster Part 3: The Cloaked Star.”