Okay, so, I’ve already posted about how sick I am of Battle Royale modes in games, and why it’s a bad idea to keep obsessing over them the way that games are. But clearly, the games industry hasn’t been listening to my expert advice, and that leaves me with two choices: I can either continue to rage against the machine and try to make the games industry see reason… OR… I can join them, go along for the ride, and still feel smug and superior when I can honestly say “Yeah, well, I was sick of this fad BEFORE it was hip”. And since the former is easier for me immediately, fine, I’ll bend.
But in that spirit, games industry, if you’re going to spam me with Battle Royale modes, can we at least try something new and exciting with them? Can we add them to games that will do some terribly interesting and exciting new takes on the formula that’s already considered a new take on the competitive multiplayer mode? Can we make the best of this crappy situation?
Well, allow me to loan my expertise to the matter. Here are some series that I think would make some pretty exciting scenes for Battle Royals, if the makers behind them felt like following a meaningless trend.
When I look at some new additions to the Battle Royale scene, such as Fear the Wolves and Hunt: Showdown, I actually feel a little excited by the possibilities. Adding wandering enemies adds a layer of complexity as they both threaten your life and to give away your position in fighting them (do you risk the silent melee kill or the safe-but-loud gunshot?), and having a map-wide objective that everyone is trying to zero in on is a more organic and compelling solution than the blue ring of death. Yes, you could hide in the bathtub all match, but if someone claims the bounty and leaves in one piece, you still lost.
But I’d want to take it one step forward by putting players in one of the most hostile, isolated worlds ever crafted by games: Silent Hill. But in this hypothetical game, you wouldn’t be playing a survivor battling their fellow humans and monsters to be the last one standing. No, to really emulate the creepy atmosphere of the game, you’d be playing cultists.
So here’s the basic idea: you and 100 players are dropped into Silent Hill to complete an objective, namely, some kind of ritual to birth god or whatever. You do that with human sacrifices, and you can either kill a number of harmless NPC’s scattered through the map to accomplish that, or use other players. Once you’ve killed your victim, you have to find the ritual site, perform the ritual, and birth your crazy evil god, and you win.
Of course, being a Silent Hill game, you’d mostly use melee weapons and the town would be swarming with monsters out to kill you. But since you’re a cultist, you don’t want to actually kill them. Rather, you could use tools to redirect or guide monsters towards other players, making them their problem while you focus on your objective. Oh, and to keep people from guarding the ritual site (if you want to dissuade that) you could have monster spawn and attack players who approach it without a body.
I dunno, Konami is probably already trying to make a Battle Royale mode for Metal Gear Survive right now, but if they felt like being cool they should do this instead.
If Nintendo wants to take advantage of this new mode yet keep it kid-friendly, Pokemon is probably the way to go, and I think you can imagine what exactly I have in mind when I make this suggestion.
You drop the players – probably not 100 – into some kind of Safari Zone. There, they have to get bait, tools, berries, potions and of course, Pokeballs, all with the ultimate objective of capturing one of the wandering Pocket Monsters that are scattered through the zone. Low-level Pokémon, like Pidgy, would be easy to catch with a bit of bait and a simple ball, but if you want a real heavy-hitter, you’ll need the best balls, the best bait and berries, and maybe even another Pokemon to weaken it first before you finally try to seal the deal. Depends on if you want to let them have more than one.
And if two players meet, well, it’s just like the games: it’s time for a battle. They’ll square off, and the player who wins will take the losers stuff (but probably not their Pokémon) and they’ll be kicked out of the zone. But since players who don’t have any Pokémon would need to be given a fighting chance to survive long enough to get one (imagine if merely holding a gun instantly killed every player you saw without one in Fortnite), players could “run” from a fight, and possibly improve their chances of getting away with rocks, poke dolls, and status-causing berries.
But of course, as time dwindled and the zone got smaller, the chances of running from a fight would get smaller and smaller.
This is such an obvious idea I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the Pokémon Company – or even a fan – wasn’t already prototyping something like it. And hey, that’s great: I would actually play the heck out of this.
Earlier this week we reported that For Honor was getting a big update, one that would warrant its own special mention at this year’s E3. My first thought, of course, was that we’d be getting a Battle Royale mode, but with the power of retrospect, I actually think a For Honor Battle Royal mode wouldn’t be terribly bad.
It’s not hard to imagine: you’re dropped on a big map and you have to scavenge for weapons (which would determine your moveset – an important factor for staying alive), armor (which improves your stats), and abilities to use in combat. You see another player, you run up to them and have a normal For Honor fight, where all your loot but mostly your skill will determine if you live or die. Winner takes the loot, limps off to the next battle. It’s a great idea, but it does have a major problem
Namely, that For Honor already has a running problem: specifically, some players will just sprint through levels when they start to lose, and force their enemies on Wild Goose chases for no reason than to waste time. In a game with no real ranged attacks, that could prove stupidly potent in a Battle Royale setting. The solution could be to make it so players get a massive burst of speed when chasing weakened fleeing enemies, or to put players in giant teams (like the current Viking/Samurai/Knight trifecta) so you could have teammates cut them off… the latter probably being preferable, as “running away” is still very much a strategy for Battle Royale games and we still want to keep it viable somehow.
The other issues, such as maps, leveling up, cosmetics, that could all be fixed fairly easily. So I guess I’m on board.
I don’t know about the rest of the series, but one of the things I really like about Monster Hunter: World is that everyone is a good guy, more or less. There’s no villainous humans, no clan-on-clan conflict: everyone is on the same page and the same team from start to finish. A Monster Hunter Battle Royale mode would try to preserve that feeling while still making it competitive, so since players wouldn’t be trying to kill each other, they would rather be doing the two things the game is best known for: hunting monsters and crafting stuff.
As I see it, you’d be dropped off on an island with other people and some very simple weapons. You start hunting low-level monsters, and as they die, parts of their body automatically become new weapons and armor for you to use. With this new equipment, you can start tracking and hunting bigger monsters for better rewards, and the first player to kill the elder dragon on the map will be crowned champion.
Naturally, since there’s limited numbers of monsters on the island, people will find themselves fighting the same beasts. You could either use tools to try to delay or disable the other player (no directly attacking their HP, of course), or you could just try to do more damage faster than they do. Landing the final blow will net you bonuses, of course, but just like the base game everyone who deals damage gets a share of the bounty, with the bigger prize going to whoever did more damage. That way, there’s no incentive to try to sneak in the last hit: the moment you see a monster, you want to be in and dealing damage.
I hope you found this little exercise fun. I enjoyed it, because it helped me realize that maybe I’m not sick of Battle Royale games, but rather, Fortnite clones.
But then I was also pretty annoyed when Path of Exile and Battlerite added Battle Royale game modes too so maybe I'm just an unpredictable piece of crap.