Battle Royale Games: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated: 12/27/2023
6 minutes read

Back in 2000, Japanese filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku released Battle Royale, an action thriller featuring a cast of unknown actors. At the time, there was no way he could have known the incredible cultural impact his movie would go on to have.

The picture made $30 million at the box office from a budget of $4.5 million, but it wasn’t just a commercial success - this blockbuster title went on to spawn a brand new genre in entertainment. The battle royale genre is now one of the most popular video game formats, and it takes a lot of inspiration from Fukasaku’s film.

What Defines a Battle Royale?

Undoubtedly, like most gamers out there, you've heard about the battle royale concept. But, to define it, there are various elements that a battle royale game must include in order for it to be accepted among the ranks of other battle royale titles within the esteemed niche. So what elements do define a battle royale game?

  • The most defining attribute within a battle royale game is the large player count. There are often vast numbers of participants in a single match. Generally speaking, there’s no set number of players required, but games usually start in the dozens and can go up into the hundreds. Everyone’s playing in real-time in an online setting, and the aim of the game is to be the last person standing.
  • Another common feature of a battle royale is the player/character's motivation - you start with limited resources and scavenge for equipment to help you in your quest for survival. This can come in the form of looting, where you search buildings and other areas for items that are going to boost your chances of winning.
  • A constricted play area is a key facet of a battle royale game. To prevent matches from going on for too long, the playable area shrinks using what is known as a storm or circle mechanic. This gradually reduces the zone that players compete in, meaning that it increases the number of intense encounters. It stops players from avoiding conflict as they will incur damage if they are outside of the safe zone.
  • One of the other key elements of the battle royale genre is that you only get a single life in any match. Once you’re killed, you’re eliminated from that game. You can then choose to watch the rest of the game or simply join a new match and start again.

Are Battle Royale Games Free?

A game doesn’t have to be free to be regarded as a battle royale title, but the free-to-play model is a common genre feature. Some of the most popular battle royale games are acclaimed, in part, because they don’t require you to purchase the title to start playing. All you need is a device and to add the title to your list of downloads, then you're ready to play. Some games do have in-game purchase options, but they are completely up to a player to decide.

There are certain acclaimed battle royale titles, such as PUBG (previously known as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) initially came with a one-time purchase to play the game. However, the PUBG corporation later realized that it needed to align itself with the competition, and now the title uses the free-to-play model. H1Z1 is another example of a battle royale title that came with a one-time purchase. However, it later rebranded as Z1 Battle Royale, which is also a free-to-play offering.

What Is the Top 1 Battle Royale Game?

The fight to be the number one battle royale game in the world is like a battle royale in itself, only that it never ends and there’s never only one left standing. It’s a constant tussle for the top spot, but it’s usually between the two biggest players: Fortnite and PUBG. These games are regularly updated with new features and special events, and this keeps players engaged.

With the incredible popularity of the battle royale genre, there will always be new titles cropping up. This means that developers of existing games need to keep innovating and offering fresh ideas to stay at the top of the battle royale tree.

If you’re looking for a battle royale game to play in 2023, there are a couple of obvious, must-play choices on our list below. That said, there is another game that has helped to improve and expand the genre, and is well worth checking out. 

So, Which Battle Royale Should You Play?


Fortnite from Epic Games is one of the groundbreaking titles in the battle royale genre, and it helped market the format to players all over the world. It’s now among the top esports, and professional players need to incorporate a complex strategy or two into the gameplay in order to prevail against their rivals.

The title was first released in 2017 and instantly became a cultural phenomenon. It attracted 125 million players in its first year and had made $9 billion in revenue by the end of 2019. It now comes with various game modes, including Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite Creative. These both offer a slightly different playing experience to Fortnite Battle Royale, and this allowed Epic Games to widen its player base massively.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

PUBG was another major release in the battle royale genre in 2017, and its early access offering gained mass attention that year. Many would say that the game designed by Brendan Greene was the defining offering in the genre and that it influenced Fortnite’s success as well. It enjoyed similar explosive growth to the Epic Games title and sold more than 20 million copies in its first year.

PUBG is officially the best-selling video game for PC of all time and has made more than $13 billion in revenue in 2023. It’s clear that the PUBG Studios game and Fortnite have set the benchmark for battle royale games.

Fall Guys

The great thing about the battle royale genre is that it can appeal to a broader audience and isn’t always about trying to kill your opponents. For players in search of something slightly different, Fall Guys is an excellent option that’s well worth checking out.

In the offering from Mediatonic, players compete against up to 40 players across a range of levels. Only a certain number of participants can pass each stage, meaning the numbers are whittled down each time until only one is left standing at the end.

How Many Battle Royale Games Even Are There?!

There are tons of other great battle royale games out there to choose from, with Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone being two of the most popular titles. Because so many players are getting into these games, the genre is set to expand further over the next few years. So, good luck and on to your next battle!