Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds dev Bluehole is not happy with Fortnite’s battle royale mode

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds dev Bluehole is not happy with Fortnite’s battle royale mode

Update: Epic says it has no comment on Bluehole's statement.

Original story: Korean games firm and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole has lashed out at Epic Games for its new battle royale mode in Fortnite.

In a statement, Bluehole VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim has said that the company is concerned by Epic’s decision to pursue a battle royale game mode. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is built on Epic Games’ Unreal 4 game engine.

“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” Kim said.

“After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”

Kim also said that Epic being open about the inspiration the studio drew from Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds had not been discussed and that he did not “feel that it’s right.”

"We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press," he said.  "This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”

He continued: “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”

A Fortnite battle royale mode was announced earlier this month, and is set for a September 26th roll-out, following the game's July launch. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds launched on March 23rd and to date has sold 10m units.

Despite putting the battle royale genre on the map, Bluehole would have a hard time arguing it has ownership over an entire genre.

Fortnite is not the only company to get in on the battle royale craze; Grand Theft Auto Online has also introduced this style of gameplay. But the difference is that Bluehole likely has no relationship with Rockstar Games. 

Comparisons could be made between games that mimicked Doom's gameplay originally being called clones when in fact that was the start of a brand new genre - the first-person shooter. 

In a recent Reddit AMA, creative director Brendan Greene did say that he expected there to be other companies operating in the battle royale space, but that Fortnite is a step too close to PUBG. 

“Other companies will, of course, enter the marketplace," the game maker said. "But I would just hope they put their own spin on the game mode and not just make a carbon copy!”

Given that Playerunknown's Battlegrounds is in itself a game that follows on from a mod of another mod makes this sort of a claim potentially tenuous. 

PCGamesInsider has reached out to both Bluehole and Epic Games for further comment. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.