People liked the 50v50 mode in Fortnite, but it had some issues. Fortunately, it was only a limited-time mode, so the developers could take it out back when its time had come. Polish it up, refine the systems, double-check everything, and bring it back as the new and improved 50v50 mode version two. That name might not sound terribly ominous, but it’s the huge matches people enjoyed coupled with new improvements and refinements. And it’s starting… today, actually.
The patch also has a number of other features, however; there’s a new cyberpunk story chapter in the Save The World mode, and a new high-capacity machine gun available in Battle Royale. So even if you don’t want to go big, you will not be forced to go home. Meanwhile, some players are obsessed with a comet that they think is going to destroy Tilted Towers, so it’s possible that everyone will feel really silly about worrying over the size of battles.
Mappety map map maps. Soon you can pick your own map in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and won’t be stuck in Miramar.
According to PUBG Corp, people have been begging for the feature for half of forever, but a number of issues stood in the way. The studio says matchmaking was its biggest concern: “We analyzed tens of millions of matches and sorted the data by server, mode, and time to make sure map selection wouldn’t break the game for anyone. We wanted to make sure that we could create a solution that worked for every region’s players, even the ones with a naturally low server population.” On top of that, it wanted to take into account the supposedly different preferences and playstatles of different regions.
“Ultimately, we created a version of map selection that we think is unlikely to cause issues for matchmaking” as maps are added in the future, PUBG Corp writes.
For those playing the now-free H1Z1 battle royale, a small Thursday patch might hold a few changes to improve your game experience.
It seems as though the primary purpose of this patch is to optimize the game’s performance, an effort which is vital to any PvP-focused title. Players using older computers will see the most improvement, although Daybreak is helping everyone out by putting an end to exuberant players who keep spamming the celebration emote.
Other tweaks include reducing the match countdown timer, showing kill receipts in team spectate mode, forbidding players from getting around ping restrictions by grouping up, and allowing players access to the map right away when going into Fort Destiny.
If Radical Heights is not a success, it’s the fault of Epic Games, according to Cliff Bleszinski. The head of Boss Key Studios recently tweeted out an accusation that Epic Games (creator of Fortnite and the Unreal engine, among other things) is trying to poach some of his staff, which comes a few months after the co-founder of Boss Key Studios left to join Epic on a heretofore unannounced project. He went on to state that there are still more things to be done in the battle royale genre, but they may remain unseen based on this employee poaching.
Epic has remained mum on the accusations of poaching employees, so it’s hard to be sure whether it’s actually happening or not. One might also want to look at the game’s numbers and its overall playerbase figures following its surprise reveal and early access launch and take that into account as part of this narrative, as well.
Last week, we wrote about how PUBG Corp is suing NetEase (and NetEase is threatening to sue everyone) over alleged copyright infringement in regard to the battle royale genre and the companies’ respective games, in particular PUBG itself. The litany of gameplay concepts PUBG Corp includes as original to PUBG baffled both us and our readers – it’s everything from loot acquisition and air drops to waiting areas and sound effects. It’s absurd. So how legal is it?
As gaming attorney Pete Lewin writes on Gamasutra today, generally what is copyrightable – in the US, where the lawsuit has been filed – is the expression of the game’s ideas rather than the ideas themselves. “For example, Nintendo owns Mario (the expression), but not the concept of a plumber collecting gold coins and rescuing princesses (the idea),” he explains. “As such, PUBG Corp will undoubtedly own PUBG’s unique code, art assets, audio files etc as these represent its particular expression of its game design choices.”
So where will battle royale games be in another five years? We don’t know just yet, but from a purely business standpoint we can extrapolate some ideas. GamesIndustry.biz has an analysis up suggesting that we can look to the last overnight genre explosion in the form of MOBAs as a good indicator of what will happen with future battle royale entries, scrambling to pick up the scraps not already picked up by Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Why? Well, the entrenched playerbase has already been established in those games, which means that slight tweaks to the formulas are unlikely to cause player shifts, and by the time these competitors are released most players will already be committed. In short, it’s many of the points we raised in a piece about trend-chasing on Wednesday, just applied more specifically to this genre. So if you’re hoping that the next battle royale game will be the one to dethrone the ruling powers, you might not want to bet too heavily on that.
Just when you thought that Fortnite’s battle royale couldn’t get any crazier, Epic Games keeps upping the ante with ideas like Port-a-Fort.
That’s right: There are now portable forts in the PvP mode that can be deployed in mere seconds. But that’s not all that came with the recent Patch 3.5. Fortnight also added a cinematic replay system, an updated version of the 50v50 limited time mode, four cyberpunk heroes, and neon weapons. On the downside of this patch, guided missiles had to be disabled due to a bug.
And going back to that replay system, it sounds like there may be a contest brewing in conjunction with it: “With a suite of cinematic settings you can now capture your most memorable moments, highlights and cinematics. We can’t wait to see what you create. You have an opportunity to win phenomenal prizes with the replay system… very soon.”
Video games have always been a remarkably insular field; that’s the nature of development. Someone produces Super Mario Bros, and a few years later Sonic the Hedgehog sounds like a really good idea for some reason. But then you have games like The Great Giana Sisters, games that don’t try to just copy parts of what made the inspiration good but just copy the whole thing with one or two changes.
For normal video games, this can work out decently; a game that just doesn’t get much traction still sells some copies, hopefully. Just because Croc wasn’t Spyro didn’t mean that no one bought the former. But for online games, these trend-chasing games are almost always dramatic failures that litter the landscape. Why is that? Well, there are pretty good reasons, and today seems like a good time to talk about that.
On Friday, we covered PUBG Corp’s lawsuit against NetEase, which alleges that the Chinese company has infringed PUBG’s copyrights in its overt battle royale clones – there’s a whole itemized list of concepts the Bluehole subsidiary claims it has copyrighted, everything from incapping to airdrops, which in the aggregate seem reasonable but individually are absurd.
So why not add some more absurdity? As MMO Culture reports, NetEase has responded by threatening to sue… everybody but PUBG Corp. According to the publication’s translation, NetEase has stated it will sue companies that copied and “twisted” its own “creative features” in Rules of Survival and Knives Out, thereby wounding the “originality market.” It does not specifically mention PUBG Corp, but one might assume the company has retaliation and defense in mind.
My experience with Rend last year felt a bit like stepping into a faerie circle and slipping into another world, sneaking up to a rather secret meeting in a restaurant on the Boston pier and seeing this game that at once seemed like a very obvious take on a familiar formula while also being immediately appealing to me personally. So it was a given that I would go back, and I can confirm that the fish restaurant itself was very real; I had some fried fish. It was tasty.
Of course, by that point I had already seen Rend again because it had a booth on the show floor showing off what it had on offer.
I didn’t get to actually play the game on the show floor this year, but I did get a guided tour through all of the things that the game had gone through in the year since I had seen it. As I was told repeatedly, when I saw the game then, it was the work of five guys crammed into a basement working on something. Now, though, the game is approaching something much bigger, better, and brighter.
Last week, we wrote about the de facto maintenance-moding of LawBreakers, as Boss Key admitted the game wasn’t making money, not even enough to justify going free-to-play. At the time, the studio said that while it would support the game as it stood, it was also moving on to something new – a “passion project” that Boss Key is “in complete control of.” Do we detect some shade for Nexon there from the company whose boss told the press to fuck off? Surely not.
Anyway, when Boss Key said it was moving on, few people probably thought that meant “six days from now,” but that is indeed what’s happening. It’s announced a brand-new game – of course it’s a battle royale title – with an even more over-the-top thug-life style than LawBreakers had, and much more neon ’80s retro flavor and tawdry The Running Man-esque decadence. It’s called Radical Heights. Hey bro, let’s play some Rad. Brb, RadHi time. Hmm. Not sure. Then again, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue either.
Here at the esteemed Massively OP offices, where every day is a silver-lined dream aboard a gold-lined yacht, we have established a policy of trading off the duties of announcing whichever game has decided to roll out a battle royale mode that day. Today’s rotation goes to me, and today’s game is Crossout.
The post-apocalyptic vehicular MMO, which is still in testing, introduced a battle royale survivor mode with its Patch 0.9.50. In this 32-player brawl on the new Blood Rocks map, everyone gets the same type of armored car but will have to drive around looking for weapons and modules to improve their vehicle’s chances of winning. The team said that ammunition will be limited in this mode, so every shot will need to count.
And don’t even try to think of cheating: “We draw your attention to the fact that the mode is intended for playing solo. This means that it is forbidden to arrange ‘fixed’ matches and unite with other survivors in groups. We warn you that such behavior will be monitored and punished in accordance with the rules.”
Let the battle royale lawsuits begin! TorrentFreak caught wind of a new lawsuit in California that ought to set all the cloners on edge: PUBG Corporation is suing NetEase for ripping off PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, specifically alleging copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair business competition. (The Korean PUBG Corp and Chinese NetEase both operate businesses in the US, hence the justification for the venue.)
Given how old this particular genre is, and how PUBG was far from the first to run with it, you might be skeptical about the company’s claims. PUBG Corp believes it has copyrighted the concept of a pre-game lobby where you can test out weapons, among multiple other concepts, including the dynamic air-drop spawning system, the map, the boost bar and consumables, “starting with nothing” and being forced to compete for resources, realistic gear, character paper doll, shrinking gameplay, down-but-not-out incapping, butt-covering frying pan… it goes on like that for a while. Maybe we’ll give them the frying pan. Honestly the screenshots are more convincing than the list. 154 pages of this.