Bloodhunt from Vampire: The Masquerade has made me consider the present condition of Battle Royale. Because it’s a gothic vampire game with intricate mythology and themes that involves dashing around a large map and killing people while, for some reason, the playing area shrinks around you. Fun, to be sure, but it seems that the distinct individuality of the Vampire series is striving to conform to the battle royale genre norm.
Since the 2017 release of PUBG: Battlegrounds, which popularized the last-person-standing genre, there has been no significant shift or progress in what consumers anticipate from the genre. Fall Guys began beautifully but has subsequently declined, Naraka Bladepoint never reached its early peak, and Bloodhunt has not yet persuaded me of its durability moving forward.
Fallout 76 attempted a battle royale mode, but so few people participated that Bethesda quietly disabled it. Shaking up a major online game is a monumental effort, and just adding new features is not a guarantee of success. A distinctive selling proposition is essential, but you must also offer frequent twists, or you risk becoming yesterday’s news. Expect more prominent franchises to release BR spin-off games. The more established the series, the less likely it is that the game will take a chance on innovative gameplay, relying instead on brand awareness.
Bloodhunt is adorable, entertaining, and gruesome in all the right ways, but I fear its originality will not persist. As opposed to radically altering the essential experience, I believe we will see more established large brands depending on bizarre gimmicks that lean on it. The entertainment industry’s age-old paradox: attempting to stand different while being identical to everyone else. If battle royale games want to avoid this, they must demonstrate a willingness to experiment.