Activision’s post-earnings investor call has shown the publisher isn’t sitting on the success of Fortnite.
Battle royale titles like Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds have seen wild success. Epic’s take on the genre has gained a lot of ground with younger players, occupying a space in culture previously held by Minecraft. These successes have naturally attracted competitors, attempting to cut their slice of the pie. Activision has taken note and seems to have plans for its own take on the genre.
"New battle royale modes that have recently entered the space have compelling survivor mechanics and large, in-game player pools,” Activision COO Coddy Johnson explained.
“They have also brought tens of millions of completely new players into gaming both on traditional platforms like console and PC, but also on newer platforms for the genre like mobile. We are very, very encouraged by this."
CEO Bobby Kotick added: “When we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we are very quick to figure out how to capture inspiration from innovation. When we see things that appeal to our audiences, we are very good at being inspired by those”
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a likely candidate for Activision’s shift into battle royale. The publisher claims the sixteenth entry in the franchise “will need to push the envelope in innovation”. With rumours flying about the game lacking campaign component, it’s possible Treyarch could win over players by adding the current king of shooters to the former.
It’s also possible that Blizzard may be taking a shot at Fortnite’s place as top dog. While obviously little to go on, a recent job listing hinted at development of a new PvP FPS from the Overwatch developers. It’s unlikely that this would turn out to be some kind of Overwatch battle royale - but Blizzard have an established history of taking established genres and polishing them into runaway successes. We wouldn’t place bets, but wouldn’t write it off wholesale either.
Whatever shape Activision’s battle royale takes, it’s certain that they’re working on something. The rise of Fortnite has been impossible to ignore, and I’m sure the publisher is keen on getting their hands on the biggest thing in games right now.