The Battle Royale idea started off as quite a unique concept with a very niche audience, though its origin is a point of contention. You could potentially argue that its roots go back as far as the infamous Bomberman series, dumping 8 players in an arena that starts shrinking over time until only one remains. Didn’t think of that, did you?
The format as we know it however, found a dedicated niche audience in Arma 3 and Minecraft mods in the early 2010s and grew from there. Brendan Greene (otherwise known as PLAYERUNKNOWN), almost got the formula right with the game H1Z1, but it was his almighty PUBG that made everyone sit straight and pay attention.
In a nutshell? 100+ people get dumped into a huge open map, procure weaponry and armour on-site, shoot each other to pieces and battle to become the large squad standing. It’s genius, brilliant, tense, and extremely fun.
What started as a single game from an independent developer, with a massively increasing player base and a hugely popular audience on Twitch, is now an entire genre. The big boys at Activision Blizzard, EA, and now even Ubisoft are getting their foot in the door with their own take on battle royale, all competing for your time, love, and money.
If you’re even remotely into it, you’ve probably already lost your life to Warzone and you’re happy downloading your daily 50GB patches, however if you’ve been living under a rock for the last four years and want to know what’s what (or want to go ahead with that gaming PC upgrade to step up your game), we’ve got you covered.
The one that got the ball rolling – Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds
Pushing itself into the public eye initially with H1Z1, it wasn’t until the release of 2016’s Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds that the battle royale concept broke into mainstream PC gaming and made it BIG. Popularity massive increased, Twitch exploded, and everyone went mad. It was, and still is, bloody fantastic.
It was also extremely buggy.
To say the game launched in a less-than-stellar state is a colossal understatement. It became a twitch phenomenon without any of the polish usually seen by major game studios, three times the jank, terrible animations and awful framerates on vastly overpowered machines. This didn’t matter in the slightest though; so popular was this game, so brilliant was this idea, that the money came rolling in at a ridiculous rate, and chasing that (winner winner) chicken dinner never stopped being one of the most satisfying experiences in PC gaming.
Bluehole (the developers) formed the PUBG Corp studio solely to continue development on this golden egg of theirs, smooth out the rough edges, cross the T’s and dot the lowercase j’s.
Of course, it got the attention of practically every major game / FPS studio and developer in existence, and everyone wanted to get in on this magic money-making formula. The players wanted a little more as well, and why wouldn’t they. Imagine what this game could be like with a massive studio budget behind it. Better animation! Smoother performance! More everything!
It didn’t take long for PUBG’s monopoly on this genius idea to come screeching to a halt, and for the competition to start rolling in.
The first major competitor - Fortnite
2017 brought us Fortnite, a vastly more polished experience which mixed things up a bit and targeted a much more casual audience. Sure, it’s still a battle to become the last team standing, but gone was the ultra-hardcore and realistic environment, replaced with a more colourful, cartoon setting and introducing a building mechanic. You find materials, build yourself a nice fort, hold tight in the zone. You know the score, it’s Fortnite.
Ironically, people got so ridiculously efficient at building, that the skill ceiling rose dramatically for such a casual game. If you wanted the win, it was time to start building like a cocaine-fueled bricklayer with ADHD, or there wasn’t a chance in hell.
Today, Fortnite has become an unstoppable behemoth and cultural phenomenon that’s completely broken the boundaries of the genre that started it, becoming less of a game and more of an event platform, with live DJ sets and events taking place in the game’s world. It’s also taught millions of children how to do silly dances.
If you’re reading this and you’ve got children of 6 and up, I almost guarantee you they know how to do the orange justice.
Changes to the game with Chapter 2 have brought in bots and other factors to bring the game back to its casual origins. It’s a cracking game still in terms of fluidity, gunplay and constant, game-wide updates, but the whole feel of challenge is completely gone. With the introduction of easy, AI controlled bots into player matches, It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ you’ll win, but a matter of how quickly you’ll breeze through your first few games with a victory royale on each one.
It’s a shame, as it really is still fun to play.
The Triple-A Studio Explosion
Things get nuts from here, as the big boys come out to play and the genre goes completely mental.
Activision Blizzard gave it a shot with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (or the canonical, but remarkably silly Black Ops IIII, if you’re that way inclined), and introduced Blackout for those that wanted the modern day / near future military setting in a much more polished package.
It became a slight balancing nightmare for a while, but it was easily the best thing about Activision’s 2018 Call of Duty revision. Still maintains a small player based today, but has largely been superseded. It had some cracking moments and some great weaponry, but there’s no real reason to dedicate your time to it now.
EA attempted to make their mark twice – The first attempt was Battlefield V: Firestorm. Nothing really happened. It came, and it went very quickly. Nobody really played it.
The second attempt was something else altogether, as they published and brought out the big guns in the form of Respawn Entertainment, the developers behind Titanfall 2. With very little warning, they came from absolutely nowhere with a trailer for Apex Legends, a hero based battle royale with character abilities and a 3 man squad. The music, atmosphere, visuals, gameplay and sound design were all brilliant, and of all the big name studio releases, Apex hit the hardest.
It launched the same day. No hype, no warning, no marketing. Everyone went mad.
The game reached 50 million players within a month, and holds a very active player base on both consoles and PC to date. There’s a lot to love about Apex, and Respawn have clearly put a ton of effort into not only the characters, but the whole lore and universe behind the game, as well as the relationships between them.
This is one of the big ones you should already be playing.
CoD Warzone, The HDD Destroyer
Last but not least, the most recent and arguably best effort, from Activision Blizzard.
While Call of Duty Blackout was a runaway hit and could’ve easily turned itself into an ongoing service, it’s been relegated to just one of the many expendable sequels of Call of Duty lore. The on-going contract between Treyarch, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games continued, with alternating studios churning out their yearly revisions of shooty bang bang goodness.
Modern Warfare managed to do something the other iterations had failed to achieve. It had broken away from some of the gameplay fundamentals of other Call of Duty games, and managed to feel new. Even with all the similarities, the foundations the game were built upon, it felt like a new game with different ideas.
This carried over the moment CoD Warzone was announced, because no way were Infinity Ward going to be bettered by their Treyarch counterpart. 100 players? Those are rookie numbers, how about 150?
How about being able to customise your own gun before launching in, then earning enough money to call in a custom loadout crate and run with your standard multiplayer perks, paint job and everything? How about mid-game missions, giving you objectives to capture points, take out bounty targets or scavenge crates, to give you incentive to actually move instead of finding an ideal camping spot? More money, more killstreaks, more equipment. Robust gameplay, wonderful customisation, and a gigantic map, not to mention crossplay with console players, makes this the ultimate battle royale experience on PC, hands down… If you’ve got the space.
Taking up a whopping 200GB+, with regular 30GB+ patches, you’re going to need to dedicate that drive space, as well as exercise patience whenever those updates roll around, which they do at very regular intervals. Patience is definitely required for this one!
The best of the rest
There are many other games that haven’t been discussed or spoken about that have made impact in some way, shape or form, such as:
• Nuclear Winter (Fallout 76)
• Realm Royale
• Rules of Survival
• Ring of Elysium
• Hyper Scape
If you’re interested in the games that are coming up, or a follow-up on the also-rans that tried to capitalise on the immense popularity of the genre and fell short, let us know!
So, what’s worth my time? What’s the best Battle Royale game on PC?
UKGC’s gaming PCs can run every single game on this list at blindingly fast framerates, so with that said, dive into Call of Duty: Warzone with a few friends and you’ll have a blast.
For something a little less grounded in reality, Apex Legends is phenomenal with its wonderfully designed characters, visuals and gameplay.
Fortnite still maintains its popularity, but it’s definitely for the parents among you. The recent changes and introduction of bots make it the ideal game to play with younger ones.
The OG itself, PUBG, can’t be written off though. Currently sitting at 322,000 players at time of article publication, there’s never been a better time to check out the game that blew the genre out the water.
Regardless of the game you choose, a UKGC Gaming PC is the weapon of choice. Run through our configurator and pick a machine that’s right for you, or call us on 08450 049828 to discuss your next upgrade!