Last autumn, Bluehole and PUBG Corp locked horns with Epic Games over PUBG’s assertion that Fortnite had all but ripped off PUBG’s battle royale mode and that it was considering some sort of action. Bluehole later walked back the spat, arguing that it wasn’t claiming copyright over battle royale but was instead objecting to the fact that Epic had access to PUBG’s deepest secrets and code because of Epic’s stewardship of Unreal Engine and had become a competitor after the fact. Bluehole then set about suing Netease over its battle royale clones, Knives Out and Rules of Survival. Netease retaliated by threatening to sue everyone else. That sideshow continues.
But now it appears Bluehole’s made its way back to Fortnite, as multiple outlets picked up a Korea Times piece on a lawsuit the Korean company filed in January; it claims Epic Games plagiarized PUBG’s interface and in-game items. Fortnite was originally launched as a co-op, PvE-centric building game but quickly added a battle royale mode in an apparent attempt to catch up to PUBG and had swept past PUBG’s saturation in just a few months, setting records left and right.
MMORPG players will recall Bluehole as the studio that built TERA in Korea and was sued civilly and prosecuted criminally (successfully) for ripping off NCsoft back in the day; multiple Bluehole employees were accused and convicted of stealing trade secrets, “copious amounts of confidential and proprietary NCsoft information, computer software, hardware, and artwork relating to Lineage 3” from NCsoft.
Certainly makes you wonder where Daybreak and H1Z1 stand on all this, doesn’t it?