PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the Internet’s biggest and most popular battle royale style game, has become so well known that it is hard for new games to come on the scene. While it is no surprise that developers are trying to claim their own share of this genre’s profitability, it has now become incredibly difficult for them to do so without being accused of copying PUBG. The latest iteration of the battle royale formula comes in the form of High Rez Studio’s Paladins: Battlegrounds, and it is already being accused of stealing.
Paladins: Battlegrounds was announced yesterday and was met with immediate criticism from fans and critics alike. Many feel that, since the game will play so similarly to PUBG, High Rez should at least stay away from the “battlegrounds” moniker. In response to these claims, High Rez Studio’s president Stew Chisam was interviewed yesterday, wherein he pushed back on all of them and claimed that the two games are “unrelated.”
Chisam said that they chose the name Paladins: Battlegrounds as an homage to MMO’s. Since the game will use teams and rely on high-speed mounts, Chisam feels this likens it more to classical MMO battlegrounds more so than the current Battle Royale games. This leads to the question why PUBG would call their game a “battleground” if it looks and feels more like a battle royale than an MMO.
Also, if it had been called “Paladins: Battle Royale” as originally intended, would we be having this same conversation, but with Fortnite: Battle Royale as the “victim?” Regardless, Chisam believes that “Battleground” should refer to a style of game, and that it shouldn’t be trademarked.
This isn’t the first time that High Rez has been accused of ripping off popular game genres, either. Back when the game was first released, many claimed that it was a direct Overwatch rip-off, and there was even discussion of whether Blizzard could sue over how blatant it was. Similarly to the current situation, COO Todd Harris had to come out and defend Paladins, claiming that it wasn’t a clone.
However, the developers of PUBG have been known to defend their territory in the past, taking issue with Fortnite borrowing too heavily from their gameplay. The name is one thing, but if gameplay is the discussion, Paladins: Battlegrounds should have nothing to worry about, as it seems to set itself far apart from its competitors. As a hero shooter, the normal 100 players in battle royale will have special powers and abilities that give them unique advantages. As the first game to mix the two, this game seems to build its own category rather than fit in with its predecessors.
If this project sees success, will we start to see other hero shooters like Overwatch attempt a battle royale mode, or as Chisam says, “battleground” style modes to compete with Paladins? Maybe a year from now we will see an “Overwatch: Battlegrounds” and have the discussion of whether they are stealing from Paladins.
Paladins: Battlegrounds will be available later this year, but if you want to play the original game to get used to the heroes you will play as, Paladins: Champions of the Realm is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.