With every company taking notice of the Battle Royale genre and looking to cash in on the craze that PUBG Corporation and Epic Games popularized with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, most developers will likely be positioned to add a Battle Royale mode to their first or third-person shooter. Well, Undead Labs isn’t quite convinced there’s anything left to pilfer from the already harvested genre.
Speaking to MCV UK, Undead Labs design director, Richard Foge, explained that they’ve been asked about getting into the Battle Royale gig, but decided it wasn’t worth it, saying…
“I’ve been talking to a lot of journalists, and they’ll ask me about making a battle royale game, because literally everyone else is. It’s like there’s this field of wheat, and somebody built this perfect, glorious combine and it went over that field, and somebody asked me ‘Would you also like to build a combine?’. But there’s no wheat left! There’s nothing left for us to harvest. I would much rather focus on what we’re doing, and try to find something unique in this space to inspire people and excite them with some new thing, as opposed to trying to follow what these folks are doing, and seeing what scraps I can get after that.”
It’s a proper assessment.
The Battle Royale genre is about to become oversaturated, especially with both EA and Activision expected to add those modes to the upcoming Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
How many times can you add the exact same mode to every game before it becomes tiresome and trite?
Eventually the audience will develop antipathy toward the mode, and then any game focusing on that feature will fade into oblivion. Undead Labs should know firsthand what that’s like given that State of Decay was originally riding on the back of the popularity created by DayZ and Rust. It was one of the few games that managed to carve out its own audience during that time while plenty of other studios had their zombie survival games either fall over and die or gain a pittance of revenue before being forgotten.
Then again, Foge is also of the mind that games need to be designed to be worth their entry price, and not just another skin for a skinner box that works as a gateway into gambling. He explained why there won’t be any microtransactions or loot boxes in State of Decay 2, saying…
“There’s going to be a one-time price for it, rather than a relationship with the game where people pay for things and don’t know what they’re going to get. That shouldn’t feel right. We didn’t want microtransactions or where you’re buying loot boxes with Zombucks or anything.”
“It works for some other folks,”
It won’t be working for some other folks for long… not in the Belgium, at least. The region is banning premium loot boxes, and finally labeling them as the gambling systems that they are.
It was smart of Undead Labs to bypass the whole loot box shenanigans because otherwise they would either have to remove them from the game by June, or forfeit selling the game in Belgium. I’m curious to see how other predatory publishers will handle the new enforcement of the existing gambling laws in Belgium.