The Battle Royale genre, which sees 100 players dropped into a giant free-for-all until there’s a last man standing, has taken the gaming world by storm over the last year or so with the massive popularity of games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale. These two titans have been battling back and forth for months, with Fortnite more recently surpassing PUBG thanks to its free-to-play model and availability on pretty much every device capable of playing video games. But even with these two games dominating Twitch streams and the like, it still feels like we’re currently in the calm before the storm, so to speak, as the success of these games is still too recent for other publishers and developers to have had time to produce their own take on this emerging genre.
Much like the plastic instruments and motion gaming crazes of years gone-by, we’re not far away from being inundated with a bunch of PUBG and Fortnite clones eager to get a slice of the pie. Most of these games are going to fail miserably, but a few are likely to not only succeed, but improve upon PUBG and Fortnite. While I don’t think all of the following 12 franchises should adopt a Battle Royale mode, they are arguably the ones best positioned to do it right and actually give PUBG and Fortnite a run for their money.
12. Red Dead Redemption 2
This one feels like a no-brainer, but it’s unclear at this point if Rockstar has any plans to implement a battle royale mode into Red Dead Redemption 2, which launches later this year. Rockstar already added something similar to the massively popular GTA Online in 2017’s Smuggler’s Run update, so it would make sense for the developer to follow suit with Red Dead Online, which is set to be a major focus of the game. With its large open-world environment and third-person shooting mechanics, Red Dead is ready-made for a large-scale, PUBG-like game mode, and the western theme would certainly help differentiate it from the competition.
Considering parachutes weren’t really a thing in the late 1800s, I’m not sure how players would drop in from the air to start each match, but perhaps Rockstar could toss in some sort of turn-of-the-century mini-zeppelin flying device to give the mode a more zany feel. While Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has cautioned that Rockstar doesn’t want their games to be derivative, he could see a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 adopting a battle royale mode if there is demand for it. In other words, there’s like a 99% chance of it happening.
11. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
While you may have stepped off the Call of Duty train years ago, Activision’s first-person shooter franchise remains a sales juggernaut, with the most recent entry, Call of Duty: WWII, being the best-selling game of 2017. With such a huge player base already, it’s one of the franchises best equipped to introduce a Battle Royale mode and given Activision’s penchant for chasing any and all gaming trends, I’d be very surprised if this year’s Black Ops 4 shipped without one. The one thing working against Call of Duty is that it simply isn’t built for mass-scale play like PUBG and Fortnite are, but Activision and developer Treyarch may very well have found a way around this technical hurdle. That being said, even if Treyarch has to keep things on a smaller scale, Call of Duty could still offer a fun, albeit much more fast-paced variation on what PUBG and Fortnite offer.
10. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Even though it’s nearly three years old at this point, Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain still features one of the most impressive open-world designs on the market. The FOX engine delivers gorgeous visuals and large-scale open environments, so it’s not much of a stretch to imagine 100 players gunning each other down in them. All Konami would really need to do is take the game’s existing maps, such as the Afghanistan desert, and drop players in, as these maps feature a wide array of buildings to hide in and a ton of terrain variety to keep things interesting. Plus, Metal Gear Solid V’s large array of weaponry, vehicles, and gadgets make it one of the most dynamic sandbox games out there and it’s exciting to think about how they could be applied to a Battle Royale mode (attaching fulton parachutes to downed enemies and watching as they’re hilariously ripped into the skies above? Yes please!).
Unfortunately, it’s probably not going to happen because Konami is its own worst enemy these days and is more interested in running the Metal Gear franchise into the ground with terrible zombie survival games than doing something with Metal Gear Online that would actually make sense. But hey, anything’s possible!
9. Tom Clancy’s The Division
With its incredible recreation of New York City, intuitive third-person cover mechanics, and Dark Zone Player vs. Player modes, Tom Clancy’s The Division seems ready-made for a Battle Royale mode and it seems Ubisoft agrees, as the publisher sent out a survey over a year ago asking players if they’d want a similar mode added to the game. Indeed, the game already has a 24-player survival mode that plays out like a smaller scale Battle Royale, but imagine how cool it would be to see 50-100 players fighting for survival on the streets of NYC.
The best part is that The Division already has an arena perfectly suited to this kind of mode in the Dark Zone, with the only real change being that players would have to scrounge for weapons and resources while the play area shrinks. That being said, it seems much more likely that Ubisoft will save such a mode for the sequel, which is set to be properly unveiled at this year’s E3.
8. Destiny 2
At this point, it’s no secret that Destiny 2 didn’t live up to expectations. While Bungie’s role-playing, first-person shooter sequel made a good first impression when it was released in September 2017, it didn’t take long for dedicated players to run out of things to do and realize that Bungie had somehow made a shallower experience than the original Destiny. Fortunately, games like Destiny 2 are meant to have long legs and the experience will continue to be iterated on in the months and years ahead with various updates and expansions. One possible avenue for Bungie to take is to hop on the battle royale train by leveraging Destiny 2’s PvE and PvP modes and blending them together into a last player standing mode.
Destiny 2 has some pretty large scale environments already, so play area wouldn’t be an issue, and there could be a variety of vehicles like Sparrows and tanks spread around the maps for players to acquire. With the various weapon classes in Destiny 2, I’d envision a situation where players would find guns like pistols and assault rifles all the way up to more powerful fare like snipers and rocket launchers hidden around the map, with some legendary and exotics tossed into the mix too to make things really interesting. I don’t think a 100 player skirmish would work well with a game like Destiny 2, but even a battle royale with a limited player count could be pretty fun if done right.
7. Halo 6
The Halo series has had a bit of a rough go of it during the Xbox One generation. Things got off to a rocky start with the botched launch of The Master Chief Collection back in 2014, and again with the release of Halo 5: Guardians the following year, as the latter title notoriously shipped without any sort of split-screen gameplay, a decision that did not go over well with many longtime fans of the series. Developer 343 Industries has promised that Halo 6 will be a return to form, but it’s still unclear when or what form this will take.
One thing the Halo series has always excelled at is its sandbox multiplayer offerings, with a variety of large-scale maps that mix together on-foot and vehicular combat, and this particular part of the Halo experience could translate well to some sort of Battle Royale mode. Spartan soldiers could drop in from orbit and have to hoof it to various outposts in search of weapons and vehicles as the play area shrinks around them. As much as the Battle Royale genre is inevitably going to become overcrowded before very long, I think Halo, with its unique and well-recognized sci-fi design, could offer up a pretty compelling experience.
6. Far Cry 5
Far Cry has always been a single-player focused franchise, with its multiplayer offerings largely feeling tacked on and unnecessary. That being said, there are few franchises that feature as vibrant and compelling open-world maps and the latest entry, Far Cry 5, may just have the best one yet. Though ostensibly set in the “real world,” Far Cry has always had a bit of an off-kilter feel, which would lend itself well to a Battle Royale mode that would feature players strapping C4 to jeeps and frequent attacks from grizzly bears and other wildlife with nothing better to do than hunt you for sport. While it would be great to get some story DLC down the road for Far Cry 5, adding some sort of last player standing mode should really be at the top of the list if Ubisoft wants to get in on the Battle Royale craze with its premiere first-person shooter franchise.
5. Star Wars Battlefront II
Let’s set aside all the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II and talk about what it does well. Large-scale combat would be at the top of the list and with its wide array of massive multiplayer maps, I don’t see why a Battle Royale mode would be out of the question. The game already supports a substantial player count, so increasing it to 100 shouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility. On the gameplay side, all developer DICE would really need to do is make it so that player unlocks are stripped away in this mode and replaced by loot drops spread randomly around the maps so as to level the playing field.
Restricting vehicles to just land-based ones would probably be the best idea, as having X-Wings and TIE Fighters flying around could break the experience, and it would probably be a good idea to strip away classes as well. PUBG and Fortnite have many things going for them, but they don’t have the Star Wars brand and if handled properly, a well-executed Battle Royale experience could be a good way for EA to start making amends for Battlefront II’s disastrous launch.
4. State of Decay 2
It’s no secret that Microsoft could really use a win when it comes to its lineup of exclusive games, especially after the disappointment of Sea of Thieves and its shallow amount of included content. State of Decay 2 is the Xbox One’s next major exclusive and while I have no idea how the finished product will turn out, it does seem like a game that potentially benefit from some sort of Battle Royale experience.
The original game was all about exploring a large environment in search of supplies to help survive against the zombie apocalypse, so it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that same gameplay system applied to a last one standing mode featuring a bunch of other players. Sure, there are already games that pretty much offer a similar experience, but State of Decay 2’s Xbox exclusivity could make it a must-play game for the console if the devs knocked it out of the part with an addictive take on Battle Royale.
3. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Considering there are two other Ubisoft games on this list, it should be clear by now that the publisher releases a lot of games that would arguably make a great fit for a PUBG-like experience, but perhaps no other game in the publisher’s catalog makes more sense for this than Ghost Recon: Wildlands. That’s because it basically looks and plays like PUBG, only better. Wildlands is a polished open-world third-person shooter featuring a massive map, a variety of weapons and vehicles, and light stealth mechanics, so it’s not unreasonable to suggest that if the game were to even just copy PUBG exactly, it would still be the superior game.
However, there is a major hurdle in this in that unlike PUBG and Fortnite, which both use the Unreal engine, Wildlands is running on an engine that isn’t built to run matches with 100 players running around and it would no doubt be a technical nightmare trying to get all that working. Then again, I’m no video game developer (obviously); all I know is that a Battle Royale mode in Ghost Recon: Wildlands would be a blast and if there’s anyway to make it happen, Ubisoft needs to do it.
Blizzard pretty much dominates any genre it decides to try its hand at, but the Battle Royale craze is one that they have yet to get involved in (mostly because it’s still too fresh for them to have anything ready to go). It seems inevitable that Blizzard will release an answer to the PUBGs and Fortnites of the world and out of all their franchises, Overwatch is the one that would arguably make the most sense.
However, as Forbes’ Paul Tassi points out in his excellent piece on how Overwatch could become a Fortnite competitor, the game in its current form wouldn’t work well given how differently each of its various hero characters play from one another. Either restricting the number of characters available or releasing a whole new game set in the Overwatch universe seem like the two best options available here but whatever Blizzard decides, you can bet they’re not going to let PUBG and Fortnite go unchallenged.
Large-scale sandbox combat has been Battlefield’s bread and butter since the beginning, making it the best series out there to get a Battle Royale mode, at least in my opinion. A typical Battlefield match is enormous in scope, with combat on land, sea, and in the air, which gives players all sorts of options for what to do in battle. It’s not a stretch to imagine the series adding a last man standing mode where players parachute in to a random spot on a map and have to find weapons and vehicles in order to survive/take out other players. Basically, it would be just like PUBG, but exclusively in first-person and a lot more polished. Battlefield 5, set in World War II, is coming later this year and I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t include some sort of Battle Royale mode.