Battle Royale recap: ‘Radical Heights’ launches, ‘Fortnite’ hiccups, ‘PUBG’ rolls out War event
In the week that “Radical Heights” threatened to disrupt the Battle Royale genre (or faceplant spectacularly), “Fortnite” suffered a day of downtime, rolled out instant replays, and brought back 50v50, while “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” announced its own limited time event and pushed back against being called “Plunkbat”.
Radical Heights made a surprise entry to the Battle Royale genre as a free-to-play PC release on April 10, suffering a raft of negative user reviews and overcoming the reputation of its previous game, the tragically underperforming “Lawbreakers”, as well as backtracking on allowing early backers to convert real money into battlefield advantages.
It casts players as participants in a futuristic, 1980s themed action game show, and rethinks several Battle Royale conventions, swapping an enclosing circle for less predictable grid-based elimination.
And, after several days of availability, players know they should expect a rough ride as the title is still in very early development; Steam user feedback appears to be stabilizing, moving from an overall rating of Negative on April 11 to Mixed (55 percent positive) by April 13.
In addition, “Radical Heights” may have benefited from unexpected downtime inflicted upon free-to-play giant “Fortnite” shortly after its own launch.
It coincided with a “Fortnite” update that contained a new item, the Port-A-Fort, which vastly simplifies the game’s construction mode, rolled out a 50v50 mass battle limited time mode, and implemented an instant replay feature.
Meanwhile, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” has been forging ahead with its own spin on the “Fortnite” limited time modes.
Its April 12 to 15 mode is called War and involved three teams of 10 players racing to score 200 points first.
A third and more compact map, Savage, continues public testing on PC for those that sign up between April 14 and 17 at mapbeta.playbattlegrounds.com; play takes place April 16 to 18.
And, after filing suit against major mobile competitor NetEase (“Rules of Survival”, “Knives Out”), the previous week, “PUBG” asserted its identity in a somewhat less crucial manner.
During a wide-ranging and good-natured video interview with Shacknews, creative director Brendan Greene was asked how he referred to his game. “Battlegrounds” and “Pub-gee” were much preferred to the unofficial “Plunkbat”.
It’s a move that was picked up on by another outlet, Rock Paper Shotgun, a major backer of the “Plunkbat” nomenclature, which ribbed Greene over the disagreement and defended “Plunkbat” as “a goofball name opposing the game’s own edgy wrapping, a celebration of how silly this 100-player murderfest is.”
The game might look serious, it contested, but its true nature lies in “weird stag & hen weekends gone wrong… stupid stunts and bold gambits and crashes and terrible mistakes and triumphant murders and larking about with your mates.” JB
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