Battle Royale games are the new zombie games. For a time, every third game had you facing off against a ravenous horde of braindead bullet fodder. Today, however, battle royale games reign supreme. In these games, in case you are not away, you drop into an arena and fight for your life against a ravenous horde of angry gamers vying for a glorified “YOU’RE WINNER” screen. I suppose not much has changed after all.
It wasn’t a typo.
What is a Battle Royale game?
One hundred eager gamers parachute onto a giant map, scavenge for supplies and commence shooting at one another until one (or a team) is left standing. Think Hunger Games without the revolution (spoilers?). Don’t let the intro paragraph mislead you; I love these games. I am awful at them but the hop in, hop out nature allows me, an older gamer with a full-time job and a family, enjoy a quick match and get back to life.
These games have been around for a few years, made massively popular by Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds in 2016. Then came Fortnite, which introduced a unique fort building mechanic to the genre. From there the flood gates were open with large gaming franchises like Call of Duty and Titanfall creating their battle royale offshoots.
With each new release I find myself excited by the possibilities but find myself a little disappointed each time. My brain keeps telling me something is missing. After a bit of soul searching, I came up with what I have been looking for in a battle royale game.
What I would create
I want an all melee BR game. Time to get up close and personal. Guns are so common in these games. Dropping onto a map and having to fist fight your way through 100 people sounds a lot more difficult than shooting a bunch of folks with a dizzying array of different sized firearms. Incorporating a martial arts mechanics like Absolver would add a deep level of customization to the proceeding.
Vin is about to mess someone up.
There was a Riddick game that came out over a decade ago (*sigh* aging) called The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. This game did first-person combat very well. Whenever I think of this premise, I think back to punching a bunch of baddies unconscious in a space prison as Vin Diesel. Now, imagine doing all that punching, but on a giant map full of gear and one hundred other human combatants. In my gaming daydreams, I am still Vin Diesel though. I mean, why not right? Lucky for me it’s a first-person concept so I can roleplay as the fast and furious star. Speaking of first-person…
Make it all first person
The newly release Apex Legends, Call of Duty Blackout and Battlefield V: Firestorm all got one thing right. They are all FPS battle royale games. Being a first-person game gives these games a sense of stress a third person game can’t replicate. Now take away the guns, and events get exponentially worse. Just picture walking through a bank of trees, and someone sneaks up behind you and punches you in the butt. A full butt punch that kills you instantly from embarrassment. Terrible right. Speaking of stealth…
Implement close quarters combat and stealthy stealth mechanics
Can we all recognize my segue skills?
Let’s ratchet up the tension ten-fold. The ability to hide and pounce on your enemies as they hunt you down for that top spot. Combatants are hiding in the tall grass, climbing trees, using mud and water to conceal yourself. Perhaps a hold your breath mechanic? You know, to make sure you feel how dire your situation is. One errant breath can give away your location and push that win out of your grasp. Man, I am stressing myself out right now.
Make it a roguelike
Like this, but first person and a battle royale game. So not at all like this.
Let’s stop messing around, eh? Let’s get super silly. How about a roguelike battle royale? Your onboarding to the game has you craft your ideal character. You build an avatar that represents you. Perhaps you create a family member or a co-worker you think is a cool person. You can deck them out with custom cosmetics and earned gear from other matches or even games. Then give that bad boy or girl a name. You know, get way too attached to this digital person.
Then you jump in the arena and are hit with a perma-death mechanic, and you lose your favorite gaming avatar to someone who is just slightly better at the game than you are. All that lovely gear you had is gone. That face you took so long to build is a mask of failure, and you start over from scratch.
The adept gamers who gain consecutive wins have their avatars immortalized in-game during their matches. Their in-game banners or statue paints a massive target on their back, making the road to victory that much harder. Those that succeed, despite my sadistic mechanics, gain special rewards, cosmetics, emotes, items and in-game achievements that they can display to all for bragging rights.
For gamers like me who will burn through quite a few avatars before even sniffing a victory, the game would have a graveyard where you can look back at all your past failures, along with who iced your character, what time of day it was and what part of the map. After all, those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
At the end of each season, formal invitations to all the best survivors for an in-game competition will be sent. Here they compete for the season’s #1 spot. A hall of fame feature will cement their avatars and seasonal victories in the game’s history.
Wrap it up Carl, you are rambling
Do you have any ideas on how to improve the flourishing battle royale game genre? Drop me a line on Twitter or my contact page and let’s talk about games.