Making a Battle Royale game in 2019 is frightening
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You must’ve heard the rumour that Season 10 in Fortnite might feature fully-sized mechs piloted by players. The large robotic suits are likely to become the next type of “vehicles” available in the game, and this particular speculation – along with what is happening in other Battle Royale games – worries us a lot. Just think about it – the developers are ready to add to the game whatever they feel will affect the online figures. In a positive way, of course. And it is really troubling.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Now, it is worth mentioning that the addition of new vehicles in Fortnite has always caused controversy, as it is almost impossible to balance out such huge game-changers. If you take a look at the initial image shared by Epic Games, a silhouette of the player model can be seen at the top of the machine. If that’s true, mechs are going to be enormous. The developers will most likely pack the newest vehicle with impressive firepower, which in response could completely destroy the existing shaky balance. Even the addition of a single weapon has a sensible influence on the meta – and we are talking about huge walking robots! Honestly, we can’t imagine what is going on at Epic Games, but it seems like the devs are losing their minds. Whatever these mechs end up being in reality, we’ll know for sure tomorrow. The upcoming Season 10 update is scheduled to roll out on August 1, so the inevitable revelation is just a few hours away. We have a faint hope that the mechs will be introduced within some sort of a limited-time event – otherwise, say goodbye to the balance (update: it IS true).
In a never-ending hunt for players’ attention, the developers are ready for anything. They are literally fighting over your interest – and money.
The problem with game-breaking vehicles can be encountered in PUBG as well. As you know, one of the recent updates has added armoured infantry tanks. Thank God, they are not equipped with a gun – but still, BRDMs are capable of withstanding an enormous amount of damage, unlike existing vehicles. The most effective current meta is to grab yourself (and your squad) one of these tanks and keep it more or less safe till the endgame. After that, you can literally run over your enemies who will try shooting at you – only to learn a few seconds later that BRDM needs a lot more bullets to be stopped. That’s just idiocy – and it has nothing to do with thoughtful development. A fairly similar situation has occurred in the Fast & Furious movie franchise. The series, being originally focused on street racing, has evolved into the mayhem of Bollywood scale and stupidity, which is the result of pushing the cinematic experience too far to draw the audience’s attention. In other words, going beyond reasonable limits is not an exclusive feature of Battle Royale games – it is happening everywhere because of high competition conditions.
Another big project on the Battle Royale market – Apex Legends – has avoided the route of adding game-breaking novelties. At least, for now. The game, being created within the Titanfall universe, doesn’t feature actual Titans – although they could’ve been added at some point. The devs from Respawn ran numbers of tests and brainstormed the idea – but luckily, they ended up with a conclusion that Titans simply do not work in the Battle Royale environment. They could’ve given random players an unfair advantage over others – just imagine a huge robot armed with powerful guns shooting all over the Grand Canyon. Funnily, this is the exact future of Fortnite. It is worth mentioning that Apex Legends has been around for less than half a year, and the game might change drastically in 2020. However, Respawn has already proved that the studio is taking a very cautious approach towards adding new content. It is even overly cautious – to the extent that the game’s community started complaining about the lack of freshly new features after Season 1.
It feels like particular studios are adding new content just for the sake of creating an illusion of doing proper work. When in reality, they’ve already lost the core concept of their games.
To be fair, Battle Royale games are quite repetitive and can get boring after a couple of hundreds of hours invested in them. To keep the player base engaged, the developers have to introduce new content and add new features. But the truth is that the novelties do not necessarily have to change the game and the balance completely – nor they should be totally out of place. What could actually be done by the studios is taking the route of improving the quality of existing features along with adding new stuff within the existing ecosystem. The major issue with Battle Royale games is a fairly small map pool. Most of the projects have just a single map, although in that case, the repetitiveness is being battled by so-called seasons. Fortnite and Apex Legends have taken this approach of altering the maps’ environment while creating their own lore – and honestly, it works pretty well. Although making completely new maps could’ve been a lot more effective. And while the studios do know the way to create proper reasonable content, they are somehow coming up with the ideas of adding mechs and tanks!
You might say that we are overthinking and exaggerating the problem, but it’s quite clear that adding “fun” elements to the games that are heavily focused on tactics is a mistake. Why isn’t that obvious for the developers? Well, we’ve already mentioned that the studios will do anything to keep you interested in their projects – even if that means breaking the games in the first place. While the craze over Battle Royale games is still strong, things like the ones we’ve listed above will keep happening. Thankfully, it’s not the issue for all of the BR projects. But it’s applicable for two out of three major titles – and that is undoubtedly troubling.