PUBG devs take aim at Epic over Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode

Posted on September 24, 2017

Bluehole, the creators of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), have publicly taken umbrage with Epic Games over their release of Fortnite’s most recent game mode, Fortnite Battle Royale.

The Battle Royale mode for Fortnite will see 100 players drop into an open map, scavenge for weapons, ammunition and bandages, and fight for survival with only 1 man standing. The game is incredibly similar to the insanely popular game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, with Epic already stating that they are “huge fans of the Battle Royale genre and games like PUBG… and we thought that Fortnite was the perfect world to build one in.” [Source video below]. One of the main differences between the two games is that Fortnite’s Battle Royale will be releasing as a free game on September 26th, whereas PUBG has a $30 US price tag.

Clearly upset with the similarities between the two games, Bluehole VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim said the following in a press release :

“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.”

“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right. The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”

A sniper in Fortnite's Battle Royale

After the press release begun to circulate and Bluehole begun receiving flack for their stance on the issue, Bluehole contacted PC Gamer for an interview to clarify their issues and intentions.

“So the first thing that I’d like to clarify is that this is not about the battle royale game mode itself… I think it’s great that there’s more competition and everyone should be able to create their own battle royale game mode, and it’s not about the idea itself, it’s about Epic Games, and that wasn’t really clear [in the press release].”

“We use Unreal Engine to develop PUBG, and we pay a large amount of royalties based on the size of our success to Epic Games, and Epic Games always promoted their licensing models [saying] “We want to support the success indie developers”, and [Bluehole is] this indie developer that has been the most successful one using the Unreal Engine this year, and that’s the problem that I see.”

“We’re not claiming any kind of ownership over the game mode or genre itself, it’s not for us to even comment… we wanted to raise an issue because this is from Epic Games. We could be the biggest indie success story that they have and there will be other indie developers that aspire to succeed like us using Unreal Engine, and they would be concerned, right? So we just wanted to raise an issue and let people know that it can be a problem.”

“What I think is, they should have at least came to us before making it and had a discussion with us.”

“We’re going to get some technical support [from Epic], and we’re going to work with them to make sure Unreal Engine better supports battle royale gameplay which requires 100 people in one session, and now we’re starting to have concerns that they’re going to develop new features or improve something in the engine to support that battle royale gameplay, and then use it for their own game mode.”

“So, we just want to emphasize this only a problem because Epic Games is the company that makes the engine we use and we pay a large amount of royalties to them. And we had this business relationship and we had trust that we would be getting continued support, and we were looking forward to working more closely with them to get technical support, maybe develop new features. But our name was used to officially promote their game without our knowledge. There was no discussion. It was just a bit surprising and disappointing to see our business partner using our name officially to promote the game mode that is pretty similar to us and there was misunderstanding in the community that we’re officially involved in the project.”

Fortnite's Battle Royale mode in action

So what are your thoughts? Has Epic done something wrong here or are Bluehole just concerned about some healthy competition?