Several subgenres in MMO gaming have taken the world by storm in recent years, but arguably the most popular at present is Battle Royale gaming, a thrilling type of game filled with action and excitement. Top titles like PUBG and Fortnite are about one thing alone – ensuring you’re the last man (or woman) standing.
At its most basic level, Battle Royale refers to a game that has strong elements of last man standing gameplay. Players are often locked in tussles with opponents, with the core objective being that you must be the only competitor who survives the action.
As well as fighting to survive, players often need to move quickly across areas where the action takes part in order to explore and find new tools to help them beat their opponents. However, the last man standing concept is undoubtedly key if a game is going to meet the Battle Royale criteria.
Such elements make the subgenre quite unique when compared to other MMO games like MOBAs, with the latter revolving around strategic team-based play. In contrast, the best Battle Royale games are fast, frenetic and a lot of fun.
The simple concept behind Battle Royale games means that they are fairly straightforward. Getting involved in this world could not be easier and can, in fact, be boiled down to just five simple steps:
Surviving in Battle Royale games depends on a number of factors. While players undoubtedly need to keep their wits about them and track their enemies, they also have to search for equipment and weaponry which will help them defeat their opponents.
The importance of staying frosty cannot be overstated too as, unlike many other types of games, players do not respawn after they are killed in Battle Royale games. With this in mind, you need to take absolute care at all times. This is gaming with high stakes and this is one of the reasons why it has become such a hit with so many people.
It is hard to pinpoint the exact start of the Battle Royale genre, as the idea of defeating an opponent and being the last man standing has been part of the gaming world since its very beginning.
While similar survival experiences have been included as gaming modes on a number of titles such as Minecraft and Call of Duty through the years, films like The Hunger Games and Battle Royale arguably led to the concept becoming a key part of pop culture in its own right.
The subsequent release of a handful of key titles made the Battle Royale genre become one of the best-loved parts of the gaming industry in recent years.
Probably the first real major breakthrough for Battle Royale gaming as a standalone concept was the release of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – or PUBG – in 2017.
The core "last man standing" idea behind Battle Royale games undoubtedly means they have huge potential for eSports.
The idea of playing video games for major prize money might still sound bizarre to some, but professional gaming is a major industry which is still going from strength to strength.
Considering this, it is unsurprising that the minds behind Battle Royale games are keen to get involved in the area.
Competitions like the Fortnite Fall Skirmish series have put the genre on the map for eSports and it is highly likely that this will only grow further in the future.
Another area where things are looking bright for Battle Royale gaming is in the world of smartphones and tablets. While Battle Royale games can be played on anything from PC to console, the genre’s core elements make it ideal for mobile.
Quite simply, it is a type of gaming that players can quickly drop into and enjoy while they’re on the move.
The biggest games in the genre, including PUBG and Fortnite, now have mobile versions. What's more, their huge popularity means it is highly likely more titles will appear in the very near future.
While these may initially be free-to-play Battle Royale games, it is likely they may include some elements which allow players to make in-game purchases.
What else could the future have in store for Battle Royale games? Well, considering their huge appeal, the growth of the genre shows no signs of slowing down at the moment.
An exciting development in more recent times has been how emerging technologies are demonstrating the potential to transform the genre.
Virtual reality has become a hot topic in recent years and already several VR-based Battle Royale games have been released, with titles such as Stand Out: VR Battle Royale, and Bullets and More VR giving players a chance to fully immerse themselves in the action.
The simplicity of Battle Royale gaming is undoubtedly part of its appeal, but concepts like virtual reality could help to further develop the experiences that such titles offer.
The Battle Royale genre may have started life as one of the many gameplay modes used in a number of games across the world, but its straightforward and addictive elements have made it an incredible global success story.
Fortnite and PUBG have pointed the way for the genre and highlighted its huge potential, but it will be truly fascinating to see where such games - whether they are free Battle Royale games or involve a cost - will go next.
While many gaming trends have come and gone down the years, Battle Royale games truly look like they have what it takes to survive.