Since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has taken the battle royale formula and turned it into a fully-fledged genre, many copies and adaptations have sprung up, one of which has caused much upset throughout developer Bluehole. In turn, PUBG creator has spoken out about copyright in the games industry and the lack of protection provided.
In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Gaming Show (via BBC Newsbeat), Brendan ‘PlayerUnknown’ Greene has addressed his concerns over the sheer amount of copycats that have cropped up surrounding the booming success of PUBG, yet his want to see the genre continue to grow.
“I want other developers to put their own spin on the genre… not just lift things from our game,” says Greene. “For that to happen you need new and interesting spins on the game mode. If it’s just copycats down the line, then the genre doesn’t grow and people get bored.”
To provide context, we’ve seen the popularisation of battle royale modes prompt games such as China’s Call of Duty Online, Crytek’s Warface and even Dying Light to implement their own version. The mode even makes its way to 13-year-old Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in the form of a mod.
Of course, the most troublesome of the bunch has been Fortnite Battle Royale, not necessarily due to its success, or the fact that it reached consoles before PUBG managed to, but namely because of its developer, Epic Games. This is a concern for Bluehole and PUBG Corp. due to the fact that Epic Games is responsible for the Unreal Engine technology that both games run on, and therefore has access to backend data that Greene initially worried would become a conflict of interest.
Furthermore, Chinese publisher Tencent finally has the rights to push the game officially in its home country starting with an adapted mobile version, however a Terminator 2-inspired game that doesn’t just take the game mode, but the appearance of PUBG too.
“There’s no intellectual property protection in games. In movies and music there is IP protection and you can really look after your work. In gaming that doesn’t exist yet, and it’s something that should be looked into,” continues Greene.
“Some amazing games pass under the radar. Then someone else takes the idea, has a marketing budget, and suddenly has a popular game because they ripped off someone else’s idea. I think it’s something the industry needs to look into. You’re protecting the work of artists basically. Games are art for a large part, and so I think it’s important they’re protected.”
The interview with BBC Radio 1’s Gaming Show segment will appear on the BBC iPlayer on-demand service in January.
KitGuru Says: Greene isn’t complaining that other games exist or even that other games are trying to do it better. In fact, he encourages that in order to keep innovation strong, but it does seem that more needs to be done to protect the copyright of newer games so that we aren’t drowned in cheaper, knock-off clones. Have you played another version of Battle Royale?