I've spoken to multiple people who've assumed Battlerite's battle royale mode must be already out, so here's your first bit of news: Battlerite Royale isn't out yet! As developers Stunlock Studios announced yesterday, the battle baby isn't due until the end of September. They also announced that baby is getting a crib of its own, and you're going to have to pay for it: it's going to be a standalone game with an upfront cost. My feelings are mixed.
On the one hand: I'm still looking forward to it. I have been since they announced Battlerite Royale four months ago as a mode within the normal free-to-play game, when I hoped the allure of a last man standing scenario would provide a route back into brawling I enjoy but never wind up sticking with. There was a danger that the mode would end up feeling slapdash and tacked on, and this move has allayed those fears. On the other hand: paying for stuff you've been told would be free kinda sucks.
Stunlock say they changed their plans when they realised just how different the champions were going to have to be from normal Battlerite: "When the decision was made, we suddenly could do more to make the best possible Royale experience. We re-designed Champion ability kits, rebalanced stats, added new gameplay systems, and removed systems. We also had to develop new matchmaking and rating systems, create a new interface, and a separate onboarding experience."
A big problem was that people weren't dying quickly enough, so they've "had to balance out defensive mechanics, in particular healing, shields, and crowd control". Figuring out what to do with support champions, who revolve around everything I just mentioned, has apparently been "quite challenging". The dev blog mentions that some champions will remain essentially the same while others will gain new abilities.
That post also mentions that "there is still work to do before we have all the answers regarding what this means for you as a Battlerite player", which a cynic might read as 'we haven't figured out how much we can get away with charging you yet'. I am a cynic, and I don't really care that "every hard-earned cosmetic" I've earned in Battlerite will be ported over to Battlerite Royale.
Stunlock say they'll share their development roadmap for both games in a follow-up announcement on Monday, when they'll also begin signups for the Battlerite Royale closed beta.