In an interview with the BBC, Brendan Greene claimed that elements of battle royale juggernaut PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have been ripped off by other titles.
Greene says in the interview: "I want other developers to put their own spin on the genre… not just lift things from our game."
Greene claims he wants developers to contribute new ideas and take bold risks if they’re choosing to emulate Battlegrounds, and has claimed: "If it’s just copycats down the line, then the genre doesn’t grow and people get bored."
Each copied game, to Greene, is a missed opportunity to do something clever or subvert the expectations placed on a game by its genre.
Greene is undoubtedly the father of the battle royale genre, having worked on the idea originally as a mod for popular mod DayZ. Then, Greene made the game mode for Arma 3, before being hauled in to work on H1Z1’s battle royale mode, and then finally working as the public face of PUBG.
The battle royale genre is about dropping a chunk of survivors onto an island and letting them fight to the death, scavenging or crafting their gear, armour and other items along the way. There’s a slight irony to the fact that the battle royale genre takes both name and concept from the movie Battle Royale, which features a couple of classes of students fighting to the death.
The genre has been chugging along slowly, but PUBG’s massive success has seen multiple copycats pop up, and several games claiming inspiration too. Earlier this year, developers Bluehole traded harsh words with Epic Games over the inclusion of a battle royale mode for newly released Fortnite: Fortnite Battle Royale now boasts over 30m players.
Greene’s comments tie into a bigger concern, with Greene talking about how little protection a games intellectual property has. He references the movie business: "Look at movies, Armageddon came out then 20 other comet disaster films came soon after."
For Greene, the industry needs to be more active in helping to protect developers with great ideas but a lack of resources to fund development or marketing.