When Epic Games announced that Fortnite would be getting a Battle Royale game mode, the comparisons to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds were instantaneous. With both games now offering 100 player, PvP gameplay, many wondered how Battlegrounds would be able to fend off this new challenge.
It seems that the comparisons have not gone unnoticed by the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds‘ (PUBG) team either, as today, developer Bluehole sent out a press release criticizing Epic Games over its Fortnite update. Bluehole vice president Chang Han Kim says, “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.” Kim also reveals that Bluehole has had “an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of [Unreal Engine 4], the engine we licensed for the game.”
Moreover, the Bluehole executive takes issue with Epic Games’ promotion of the Fortnite Battle Royale mode. In the announcement post for the Fortnite update, Epic specifically states that it “loves” battle royale games like PUBG. In the game mode’s announcement trailer, Epic’s creative director Ronald Mustard references both PUBG and H1Z1 (which has a standalone battle royale mode called King of the Kill) as areas of inspiration.
The Battlegrounds team is “concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known for,” with Kim warning that the Bluehole team is “contemplating further action.” At this point, it’s unclear exactly what that this “further action” might look like, but if Bluehole does decide to file a lawsuit, then it could put the future of Fortnite‘s soon-to-be free to play game mode at risk.
Epic Games has yet to respond to Bluehole’s harshly worded statement, but fans of both games are already weighing in. Some argue that Epic should have seen this coming, as the developer directly names Battlegrounds as an inspiration, and that Bluehole was always going to take issue with it. But others say that Bluehole is in the wrong, arguing that the concept of battle royale modes are nothing new. Grand Theft Auto Online has a battle royale mode for example, while PlayerUnknown himself, Brendan Greene, actually consulted on H1Z1‘s battle royale mode before Battlegrounds was released.
What most fans seem to agree on, though, is that they would like both games to coexist peacefully. They may include battle royale gameplay, but that doesn’t mean that there can only be one victor once this dispute is settled.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is available now for the PC, and releases later in 2017 for Xbox One, while Fortnite is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.