This Battle Royale bandwagon can only be a good thing

Earlier today, LawBreakers developer Boss Key Productions announced a new battle royale game called Radical Heights. With PUBG dominating headlineslast year and Fortnite taking over the reins for 2018, it's no wonder developers want to try to capitalize on some of the hype by creating battle royale games of their own. Boss Key is almost certainly one of the first of many, many developers that will try to capture some of the obviously huge market for battle royale games over the coming months and years.

Of course, we've seen this plenty of times before: some studio comes up with an interesting idea and it seems developers who may not have been as quick to the punch proceed to copy that idea endlessly. Whether it's military shooters, rhythm games, or now battle royale, this is a process that seems destined to repeat itself until the end of the world. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then there's plenty of flattery to go around in the games industry.

Boss Key isn't the only one that will try its hand at battle royale, assuming recent rumors are true. We've heard that Valve may be considering a battle royale mode for Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and that Red Dead Redemption 2 may have one as well. While your immediate reaction may be to roll your eyes at the developers who will undoubtedly try to jump on the battle royale gravy train, it's actually a good thing that so many will undoubtedly take a shot at the genre.

After all, a year ago, there was only one battle royale game alone at the top: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. From pretty much the moment PUBG launched into Steam early access, interest in other battle royale games – H1Z1, for instance – took a nosedive, and PUBG quickly became one of the most popular games we've ever seen. It stayed that way for much of the year, until Epic Games launched a battle royale mode for its co-op survival game Fortnite and it started to gain steam.

The second Fortnite: Battle Royale was announced, it seemed PUBG die-hards were ready with their derision. Fast forward to today and interest in PUBG has waned a fair amount as Fortnite enjoys some time in the limelight. All the while, PUBG adherents and Fortnite fans continue to sling mud at one another, when the truth is that both games are better because of the existence of the other.

We'll start with the obvious observation that Fortnite very clearly took inspiration from PUBG when it comes to core gameplay mechanics. In Fortnite, players are dropped onto an island and have to loot weapons and health items that they'll use as they try to become the last person standing. There is no Fortnite: Battle Royale without PUBG, or at least without the work Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene did on battle royale mods for other titles before deciding to create a game of his own.

At the same time, however, many recent improvements we've seen in PUBG are likely thanks to the success of Fortnite as well. Just recently, PUBG launched a new event mode that allows players to do things like play shotgun-only matches or queue into games that feature 8-man squads. These modes offer a fun little break from the grind of PUBG's main battle royale mode, but they probably wouldn't exist had it not been for Fortnite's own event mode.

If you tried out PUBG's new Codename: Savage map and you enjoyed the fast-paced matches its small size offered, you probably have Fortnite to thank for that as well. While the PUBG team has been planning a smaller map for a long time, the fact that Fortnite's map is smaller and faster-paced than PUBG's Erangel map likely kicked those plans into overdrive. The PUBG team is looking to pull those who may have defected to Fortnite back in, and in the end, PUBG players benefit with new modes and maps.

If there's one sticking point for Fortnite players at the moment, it's most likely the problems with Tilted Towers and the desire for a new map. Though Epic hasn't announced any plans to release a second map, you can bet that if it does, PUBG will be a motivating factor behind the move. If PUBG still had a single map, it probably wouldn't occur to most Fortnite players to even ask for a second one, but now that Miramar is part of the regular BR rotation in PUBG, it has Fortnite players asking "why can't we have a second map too?"

My point is that competition between PUBG and Fortnite has made each game better, so competition from other developers with their own battle royale games will potentially be a benefit as well. At first blush, Radical Heights might sound like it's trying too hard to stand out from Fortnite and PUBG, and though we won't know how it plays until tomorrow, we've already heard about some of its more interesting quirks. For instance, today's announcement revealed that players will be able to earn cash during matches and can use it to buy weapons in subsequent games, potentially opening up an early advantage.

That's definitely an interesting way to break the battle royale mold, and Radical Heights' promised game show elements might do that as well. In fact, come tomorrow we could discover that Radical Heights feels like an entirely different game than Fortnite and PUBG, and if that prompts the developers of both games to consider features and modes they previously wouldn't have, then everyone benefits.

So, even though the incoming flood of battle royale games might be a source of exasperation for some, approach each one with an open mind. If they're free, play a few matches and take note of the features you like. If these games do enough differently (and execute well), then your preferred battle royale game might just end up better for having them around.