PUBG executive steps forward to clarify the objection to Fortnite's Battle Royale mode
'It's not about the idea itself, it's about Epic Games'
Last week PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds found itself in a "get the popcorn ready" kind of moment when they publicly called out Epic Games for their reveal of the free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale. Now, Bluehole VP and Executive Producer, Changhan Kim has stepped forward to clarify the studio's stance on the issue. While it certainly didn't sound like it, Kim told PC Gamer that "it's not about the idea itself, it's about Epic Games."
Kim's point, which sounds quite different from Brendan Greene's "carbon copy" remark, stems from the fact that Bluehole pays a lot of money in royalties to Epic for the use of their Unreal Engine and that the ad that was put out specifically mentions PUBG by name, which he says was done without their consent.
"So, we just want to emphasize this only a problem because Epic Games is the company that makes the engine we use and we pay a large amount of royalties to them. And we had this business relationship and we had trust that we would be getting continued support, and we were looking forward to working more closely with them to get technical support, maybe develop new features. But our name was used to officially promote their game without our knowledge."
Kim reiterates several times that it's not about the Battle Royale game mode itself, which has been done over across several titles already.
"There were other BR game modes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5's battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue," Kim said. "I think it's great that there's more competition and everyone should be able to create their own battle royale game mode."
It's impossible to prevent clones and knock-offs from being made, it happens all the time, and has almost always been a thing in game development. That said, Fortnite is adding their own spin to the genre with the base-building mechanics, so at first glance, this very public reaction to the announcement seems to be more out of fear for their own product than anything else.
Fortnite's Battle Royale mode launches for free tomorrow, though the standard game is still considered in Early Access. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is available now in Steam Early Access.