PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole has stated that its public grievances with Epic Games are specifically related to the pair’s business relationship.
Last week Bluehole’s VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim slammed Epic for its introduction of a new battle royale game mode in Fortnite. Some were quick to question just how much ownership the PUBG maker can claim over the genre – an accusation that Kim has now responded to.
“I'd like to clarify is that this is not about the battle royale game mode itself,” he told PC Gamer. “There were other BR game modes earlier this year that were released, like Grand Theft Auto 5's battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue, and I think it's great that there's more competition. It's not about the idea itself, it's about Epic Games, and that wasn't really clear.
“We use Unreal Engine to develop PUBG, and we pay a large amount of royalties based on the size of our success to Epic Games, and Epic Games always promoted their licensing models [saying] ‘We want to support the success indie developers’ and ‘[Bluehole is] this indie developer that has been the most successful one using the Unreal Engine this year’, and that's the problem that I see.
“We could be the biggest indie success story that they have and there will be other indie developers that aspire to succeed like us using Unreal Engine, and they would be concerned, right? So we just wanted to raise an issue and let people know that it can be a problem.”
Kim went on to express discomfort at the idea that any developments Bluehole makes in conjunction with Epic could then be employed in Fortnite, effectively meaning the PUBG studio is aiding a competitor. He also repeated the complaint that Epic used the PUBG name in its Fortnite marketing without seeking permission.