The makers of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] today effectively puffed their chest, pointed at Epic Games, and growled “I’m watching you, sunshine.” They’ve issued a statement addressing comparisons between Battlegrounds and Epic’s new Battle Royale mode in Fortnite, saying that some players have pointed out similarities and now Bluehole are “concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.” Which is foolishness, of course. Even creator Brendan ‘Playerunknown’ Greene himself has told us he doesn’t “claim ownership” over Battle Royale modes. Bluehole muttering about contemplating “further action” seems a hollow threat but hey, maybe by making it they’ll save face.
Today’s statement is very much framed as responding to “community concern” and sees Bluehole lay out their foolish stance.
“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” Bluehole vice president Chang Han Kim said. “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.”
Bluehole add that “concerns around User Interface (UI), gameplay and structural replication in the battle royale mode exist.”
Some elements are similar but the core game differs in crucial ways, being far more arcade-y and letting players build structures. Fortnite’s mode is also similar-ish to H1Z1: King of the Kill (which Greene himself worked on), to The Culling, and to Ark: Survival of the Fittest. We’ll likely soon see a dozen other similar games, just as we did with Minecraftbuts. We’ll be swimming in Plunkbuts.
Chang Han Kim also says that “we don’t feel that it’s right” for Epic to refer to Plunkbat in Fortnite Battle Royale’s marketing without discussing it with Bluehole.
Epic’s Donald Mustard said in the announcement trailer, “At Epic, we’re huge fans of the Battle Royale genre and games like PUBG and H1Z1, and we thought that Fortnite was the perfect world to build one in.” Epic also said in a blog post that “we love Battle Royale games like PUBG”.
Objecting to that praise seems foolish. Objecting to other studios making Battle Royale games is foolish. And Greene has made clear that Battle Royale isn’t ‘his’ anyway. He told us in an interview earlier this year.
“Look, I don’t claim ownership. So, it’s a last-man standing deathmatch. That’s been around since people could pick up clubs and hit each other. I would never claim ownership over that. The ever decreasing circle – I couldn’t program squares like it is in the Battle Royale movie. The code for doing squares that shrink, I just couldn’t do it because I wasn’t a very good coder, right? So I moved it an ever decreasing circle that sort of moved around inside itself, because that’s how I could do it. I don’t even claim ownership on that. These are old ideas. I love to see what the genre has created. It’s various versions on something that I guess I popularised, you know? The idea itself is not mine.”
Bluehole’s statement today even quotes Greene from his recent Reddit Q&A, where he said “Other companies will, of course, enter the marketplace, but I would just hope they put their own spin on the game mode and not just make a carbon copy!”
Fortnite Battle Royale is clearly not just a carbon copy.
Bluehole’s statement concludes with Chang Han Kim saying “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”
Presumably that further action will be nothing because it’d be ludicrous.
Bluehole are likely just posturing, firing a withering glare while fans pick at comparisons and say “Yeah go on on Blue, do ‘im.” Bluehole, next time you want to look tough, perhaps simply tweet Epic one of the many “I’m watching you” GIFs easily available on the Internet. Here, I found one for you:
I believe that’s called ‘brandter’.
Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode will be opened to everyone on Tuesday the 26th, while the PvE mode will remain paid until it leaves early access.
I’ve pasted the whole press release onto the next page because I think it needs to be seen in full to appreciate the foolishness.