In 2000, a bizarre and controversial film called “Battle Royale”
was released. In the film, dozens of Japanese high-school
students are placed on an island, given weapons, and forced to
kill one another until one person remains.
That person is crowned the winner.
If that sounds a lot like the plot of “The Hunger Games,” it’s
because it’s not far off. Though the plots are similar, “Battle
Royale” is a far more brutal film. There is no prevailing
heroine, no odds overcome. “Battle Royale” is a bleak,
suspenseful, violent movie.
A new game with a bizarre name, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”
aims to re-create the tension and brutality of “Battle Royale.”
And unbelievably, it succeeds.
“PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” is available only on PC so far
(it’s coming to Xbox One later this year). It has only one game
mode, and no single-player campaign. It’s not even fully complete
— the game is available in “early access” through the online game
platform Steam, which means it isn’t finished but you can buy it
early and start playing now.
As it turns out, over 4 million people have already done
that after just four months of availability. At $30 apiece,
that’s quite a bit of revenue for an unfinished game — somewhere
in the ballpark of $100 million, according to
the folks at Bluehole Games.
It’s the second-most-watched game on Twitch, the world’s largest
game-streaming platform, just behind “League of Legends” — the
actual most popular game in the world. And that makes a lot of
sense: Even if you don’t play “Battlegrounds,” it’s a ton of fun
to watch. It essentially plays out like watching a horror movie,
with viewers shouting at their screens as the streaming player
ambles around the game’s abandoned island in a bid for survival.
And this is just the beginning for “Battlegrounds.”
The game’s creator — “Playerunknown” himself, Brendan Greene —
showed up during Microsoft’s Xbox press briefing at the annual E3
video game trade show last week. “Battlegrounds,” he said, is
coming exclusively to the Xbox One later this year. We expect
it’ll also show up on the PlayStation 4 not so long after that,
perhaps halfway through 2018.
All of which is to say one thing: If you’re not already aboard
the “Battlegrounds” hype train, take note! This game is exploding
in popularity for a good reason — check out the latest trailer
right here for an idea why.