The battle royale genre has claimed another victim. 2 months after its launch on Steam Early Access, Hi-Rez Studios’ entry into the battle royale genre, “Realm Royale”, is crashing and burning. Compared to launch, the game’s playerbase has plummeted by 94%. The peak number of players a day ago was 5,263, despite an all-time peak of 105,440. What happened?
Realm Royale was intended to be Hi-Rez studios’ foray into competing with Fortnite. Better known for their free-to-play hero shooter Paladins, Hi-Rez’s Realm Royale attempted to set itself apart in many ways. For example, there are five different player classes, and player characters turn into helpless chickens upon death. However, this clearly wasn’t enough to cultivate a passionate fanbase and remain relevant for players.
This reflects how crowded the battle royale genre has become; there just aren’t enough players to sustain all of these competing products, which thrive on large playerbases. This has seen the collapse of contenders like The Culling 2 and Radical Heights. Possibly in response to the decline in player support, Hi-Rez Studios has established three separate studios for each of its games, including Realm Royale. It is unknown what this means for the future of the game, but the game has definitely underperformed compared to the main competitors.
Hi-Rez is far from the only studio looking to cash in on the battle royale craze. Both upcoming AAA military shooters Battlefield V and Call of Duty Black Ops 4 will feature Battle Royale modes. Whilst those franchises have always sold well, the underperformance of most battle royale games outside of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite would suggest that players are not exactly looking for alternatives.