Are Battle Royale Games, Like 'Fortnite,' Dead Or Thriving
You can hardly read about games today before coming across a hot take about how Fortnite is basically dead. Or dying.
Then, in typical internet fashion, there are articles talking about how it's going to a new high, how Fortnite's building a tower to the top of the map of gaming. So which is it? Is Fortnite still the only game in town? Or is it down to its last HP with the storm closing in?
Compared to the heyday of battle royales, they've definitely fallen off the map a bit. 2017 saw the release of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Fortnite, and Garena Free Fire to outrageous numbers-- millions and millions of players dropping in, looting up, and fragging out. For a while, it seemed like there was a new Fortnite every two weeks, and we were only days away from Solitaire BR.
The last successful battle royale-style game to be released was Call of Duty's Warzone, released in early 2020. Since then, the genre hasn't had any big breakout hits. Spellbreak, an interesting new entry in the genre where players throw spells instead of shooting guns, has struggled to find its footing in the genre- as have many other recent battle royale clones. Every new battle royale makes players want to roll their eyes, not grab their friends.
And at the same time, multiplayer shooters from before the Battle Royale era are making a huge comeback. Valorant has put tac shooters back on the map, and more recently, Halo Infinite was released to huge fanfare without a battle royale mode in sight. What's more, players of games like Spellbreak are begging the developers to abandon battle royale, but there's not much unrest in the Halo community that they can't drop out of a dropship and search for needlers on everyone's favorite ringworld.
So, while Battle royales aren't going anywhere, they're not going to be the top dog forever. After almost five years of people expecting it to be a flash in the pan, battle royale has stopped being THE genre and takes its place as one of the hundreds of genres battling for players' attention. It's not dying; it's established, and it'll have the peaks and valleys that all major genres experience from now on. Much like Pokémon or the original Halo once felt like they were going to be the only game in town forever, this era will pass, and Fortnite will live long enough to see itself release an anniversary edition.
Top Image: Epic Games