The History behind ‘Battle Royale’

by Shira Amir

Fortnite’s Battle Royale game mode evolved from the multiplayer game mode of the then popular open-world survival games, as this fighting mode is similar to Battle Royal as they both involve the fighting of many combatants with each other until the last one remains standing.

Although you are most definitely familiar with the term ‘Battle Royale’ from the gaming world, this term has a rich history and was not adopted by the gaming world out of the blue. Let’s go back and explore how it was adopted by the gaming world and became a worldwide phenomenon.

So, if ‘Battle Royale’ is not a pure gaming term invented by PUBG and Fortnite who came up with it first? In 1999, a Japanese novel named ‘Battle Royale’ was published. The novel tells the story of junior high school students who were forced to fight each other to the death in the course of a program run by a fictional Japanese governmental authority, now known as the Republic of Greater East Asia. Therefore, ‘Battle Royale’ refers to fiction narrative art genre or entertainment mode inspired by the novel.

Japanese novel “Battle Royale”

Prior to 2011, we could witness only a few games that had the ‘last man standing’ multiplayer mode. Typically, this mode involved between 10–14 players. In 2012, shortly after “The Hunger Games” movie came out, a server plug-in named ‘Hunger Games’ (later changed to ‘Survival Games’) was developed for Minecraft. They were the first who started a new gaming culture. Gaming companies got and still get inspired by the movie. This game mode places gamers at the center of a ‘map’ near a set of equipment chests. When the game starts the gamers need to combat with other players in order to survive the game. The last surviving gamer wins the match.

“The Hunger Games”, 2012.

Is there anyone who is not familiar with Fortnite? In less than two years, ‘Battle Royale’ became a mainstream game phenomenon. In September 2017, Epic games also launched Battle Royale mode for Fortnite. Fortnite Battle Royale mode combines some of the survival elements and mechanics from the main Fortnite game with the Battle Royale gameplay concept. This game achieved a similar player count as Battlegrounds, with around 20 million unique players reported by Epic Games in November 2017.

Fortnite reported a record-breaking success of Battle Royale, generating over USD 1 billion from in-game purchases and becoming the leading, 1st ranked cross-play game, overtaking PS4, XBOX One and Nintendo switch.

Meanwhile, it does not seem like it is going to slow down. So they say: “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Oh…and TAKE YOUR GAMING SERIOUSLY 🙂

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