The next step after the Battle Royale?

Shooter or shooting video games have evolved a lot since DOOM (1993) sowed the seeds of madness in the video game industry. Since then, more than two decades have passed and the landscape has changed a lot, although not the essence: the shooter genre is one of the most popular and played by far.

There are shooting video games of all kinds, but there are two franchises that have managed to stand out and become benchmarks: Call of Duty and Battlefield. It is impossible not to know them. Both have caused sensation, madness and even fanaticism. For many years they had their own “civil war”.

And precisely they have been very famous because their formula was tremendously simple and addictive:

  • Games of different durations depending on the mode: team duel, assault, domination, conquest…
  • Varied maps of different sizes. Usually small in Call of Duty and big in Battlefield.
  • two teams of players killing each other to see which one prevails over the other.

Meanwhile, the shooter genre was evolving in different directions, whether in first or third person:

  • Linear or open world campaigns: Metro Redux, Spec Ops: The Line, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Far Cry, Bioshock, Borderlands, Sniper Elite, Metal Gear Solid, Red Dead Redemption 2…
  • zombies/hordes: Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, World War Z, Back 4 Blood, Resident Evil, State of Decay 2, Call of Duty Zombies, Zombie Army, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Day Z…
  • On-line: Overwatch, CS:GO, Planetside 2, Quake, Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Arma, Valorant, Rainbor Six Siege…
  • MMOs and RPGs: The Division 1 and 2, Destiny 1 and 2, Outriders, Warframe…
  • And more…

The genres intermingle and the result is wonderful: the shooter genre has evolved through many different branches and has reached everywhere. Surely there is a shooter for your taste, I have no doubt. Everyone has played one at some point in their life. You can even enjoy Call of Duty on your mobile!

Battle Royale, before and after

The author and journalist Koushun Takami He published a novel called Battle Royale on April 27, 1999, a best seller that caused enormous controversy for its philosophical proposals and that would change the world forever. In the year 2000, the Film adaptation and Hollywood would do the same in 2012 with The Hunger Games. All award-winning hits.

This trend made open world survival games like H1Z1 (2015), DayZ (2013) and Rust (2013) became popular to unsuspected extents. The experience they proposed was similar: an open world in which players had to survive by imposing themselves on their opponents. Finally, H1Z1 was the game that took the step towards battle royale…

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It was in 2017 when Epic Games introduced Fortnite, a third-person shooter in which you had to collect materials, build bases with a very intuitive construction system, and defend yourself against monsters. The host was not going to be small, so the company took out the battle royale mode desperately… and then the dementia began.

Fortnite: Battle Royale marked a before and after in the recent history of video games. A battle royale mode that allowed you to quickly shoot and build structures to better position yourself. The madness broke loose: everyone has played Fortnite at some point, and most have stayed for a season…if they don’t keep playing.

The companies lost their minds. Everyone wanted their own battle royale: Electronic Arts released Apex Legends and Firestorm in Battlefield V, Ubisoft had Hyper Scape (now dead), Call of Duty has Warzone, freefirePlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), super people, Ring of Elysium and a very long etc whose extension does not reach the list. EVEN TETRIS HAS A BATTLE ROYALE MODE!

It goes without saying that most of them have hit the host against the wall of the podium of Fortnite, Apex Legends Y Warzone. special mention to pubg, which had its special moment. It seems that the battle royale genre is here to stay forever. It seems difficult for something different to stand up to it… Or maybe there is?

The addictive formula of Escape From Tarkov: the dethroneer of kings?

I’m sure Escape From Tarkov hasn’t invented the “raid-shooter” formula that makes it unique, but it has developed and raised it to new heights of interest. If you don’t know it, it is a mutation of the battle royale genre. I set the differences by minimizing it:

  • battle royale: Deploy, loot weapons and survive until no more players remain while the area shrinks.
  • Tarkov Formula: deploy, loot equipment and other objects, survive and look for an exit area to escape.

The main difference between a battle royale and this formula are the objectives: while in battle royales you have to survive and complete some missions, the Tarkov formula always gives you a reason to enter the danger zone.

The progression is much more palpable thanks to the RPG elements: the stats of your character improve. On the other hand, its inventory, additional defense and firepower depend on the equipment you choose, and you have a shelter to improve and expand with everything you take from the conflict zones, either through components or money you get by selling to any of the sellers.

Another interesting mechanic. While in battle royales you don’t lose anything by dying, games like Tarkov penalize you with the loss of your team (the one you used to enter) and everything you have looted in that game. This adds strategy and decision making before and during missions.

Escape From Tarkov is a video game in early access or early access described as combat simulator shooting with RPG touches. It would take me a whole post to tell you all the details. Keep in mind that the word “simulator” is not used for nothing: the health system is very complex, the weapons and ammunition is absurdly detailed and managing everything you have is a task worthy of a Tetris champion.

Escape from Tarkov

You could say that Escape From Tarkov is the visible head of this “new” type of shooter. There are other similar titles like Hunt: Showdown, Vigor, Lost Light Y marauders. They are all tactical games, leisurely and with a very steep learning curve. They drink heavily from classics like STALKER and Metro Redux.

The common denominator is that playing implies the possibility of lose your equipment. The more and better rewards, the more risks: other players, NPCs (normal and bosses), time, your health… A single bullet can literally make the difference. Each fight can be the last and winning does not always mean surviving the game.

And could it dethrone the battle royale?

It’s complicated. Escape From Tarkov He went from being a complete unknown to a phenomenon in a few days thanks to Twitch. It is not a fad, but a type of niche game that has come to stay. And who knows what will happen in the future?

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At the moment, this genre doesn’t have much to do with battle royales. Not because it’s bad, but because most similar projects have had dismal quality and failed miserably: Battlefield 2042 tried it with Hazard Zone and call of duty with DMZ.

The Division (2016) is the only game that has offered similar modes and that managed to catch on with the players: the Dark Zone and the Survival DLC. They are not battle royale nor do they fit the Tarkov style, rather they are a hybrid. Ubisoft hasn’t tried to replicate it in The Division 2 or any other game.

The battle royale are here to stay and continue to have a lot of strength, although interest has declined in recent years. It would be risky to say that the formula that leads Escape From Tarkov will surpass the battle royale in the coming years. However, I am sure that will gain followers slowly.

In any case, it’s up to you: do you think the battle royale empire is coming to an end? Do you like the Escape From Tarkov formula? Do you think it has the potential to match Warzone and Fortnite? I read you in comments.

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