The features that could help keep the Battle Royale formula fresh

With so many entrants in this booming new genre, it's evolve or die.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode have taken the gaming world by storm with their blood-soaked arenas and tense twitch-based gameplay. These two games have given rise to the creation of an entirely new genre of multiplayer shooter – a genre which seemingly every developer wants to cash in on. There's certainly a lot of hype surrounding battle royale games and everyone and their dog seems to be out hunting for poultry prizes and victory royales. While both PUBG and Fortnite share similarities in their deadly killing grounds, they still feel inherently different. Unfortunately, this can’t be said for all those that are currently jumping in on the battle royale bandwagon. However, the last-man standing formula is still in its infancy and there’s still plenty of time for it to grow and change. Join us as we take a look at the things we want to see present in both current and new battle royale titles.

Evolving arenas and environments

© Lionsgate
© Lionsgate

While the ominous blue circle of PUBG and Fortnite provides an often fatal threat to those ensnared, it doesn’t really feel all that terrifying. In fact, you can quite easily avoid it if you keep a general eye on your map. Meanwhile, PUBG’s Red Zones add a decent amount of randomised danger and it can be pretty tense when you get caught between both sniper fire and explosive barrage, but we’d like to see more variation when it comes to these non-player dangers. For example, the macabre arenas of the Hunger Games series used genetically-modified beasts, poisonous fog and man-made disasters to kill off its contestants. Imagine running across a lush green open field for it to suddenly begin flooding or watching in horror as the ground beneath you starts to crumble away.

These events could happen on a timed basis and would help create more artful ways to thin player numbers, while also creating a deadly spectacle for onlookers. We don’t think AI beasts would fit in with PUBG’s more realistic military approach to the battle royale genre, but we’d like to see this feature added into other last-man standing games. The social survival game SOS touched on this area by including hordes of ape-like monsters, demonstrating that non-player controlled threats can work within the battle royale formula, but we’d like this idea to be expanded upon further. Having to fight off newly introduced beasts would certainly add another deadly layer to the kill or be killed loop.

Dynamic weather conditions

© PUBG Corp
© PUBG Corp

PUBG has toyed around with dynamic weather conditions for a while now, but we want to see a lot more weather scenarios. For example extreme weather, like sandstorms and blizzards would not only reduce mobility, it would also allow players to track one another. Meanwhile, thunder and lightning could cause raging fires to spread amongst the game’s foliage and built up areas. Dynamic weather helps capture the feeling of the unknown, and ensures that no battle is ever the same. We’ve seen how dense fog in PUBG, for instance, makes it harder for snipers to be effective from afar and changes the overall spotting distance. Because of this slight change, it effectively makes long-range engages slightly harder and opens up more opportunities to use the game’s close combat weaponry.

However, we’d really love to see a night mode make its way into PUBG’s current map rotation. Having a full moon would provide enough natural light in open areas, while towns and various buildings would be dimly lit by streetlights. Hearing distant sounds of gunfire and watching the hellish barrage from the Red Zone light up the night sky would certainly make for one frighteningly tense spectacle. PUBG’s developer even teased the possibility of adding in a night mode when asked by fans in a stream, so we could see this feature added in the future.

Team up on the fly

© PUBG Corp
© PUBG Corp

When you run into an empty house and see another fellow unarmed player you either have to rapidly look for a weapon, run away, or simply attempt to beat them to death with your bare fists/pickaxe. However, what if there was another way? What if you could decide to team up right there and then? We know there are various squad modes available in PUBG and Fortnite, but being able to pair up on the fly would certainly add another level of trust and general paranoia to the mix. Putting your faith in a random player you’ve just met would certainly be difficult, especially when you don’t know their motives, however, it could make for some epic moments.

Of course, teaming up in solo game modes would be tremendously unfair, but having a mode that’s tailored specifically around forming small parties in the middle of combat would encourage more devious plays, without the fear of being punished for having an itchy trigger finger. This level of paranoia isn’t currently felt in the various squad-based battle royale game modes, so it would be great to see jolly cooperation with a deadly twist.

Winner stays on

© Epic Games
© Epic Games

Imagine winning a chicken dinner or a victory royale to then receive the option to play against other recently crowned winners. This is an idea that crops up in Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale and the Hunger Games series. Both these films pit the winners of previous murder games against one another, with the aim of creating a more challenging and bloodier experience. Players wouldn’t only get to flex their muscles over the game’s very best combatants, they would also get a chance to increase their rewards/experience for overcoming these monumental odds. Not only would this mechanic make for an exhilarating experience, it would also be a fun spectator event for viewers, especially since we’d get to see the pros take on similarly skilled champions.

Writer

James is a journalist who has written for the likes of PC Gamer, Games Radar, Kotaku, LoL Esports, and many more. If you’d like to get in touch with James you can contact him via email at james.busby@allgamers.com or by following him on Twitter

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