The battle royale genre is dominated by some big names but that doesn’t mean these often forgotten titles aren’t worth seeking out.
By Geoffrey Martin
Published 8 hours ago
It’s no surprise that the battle royale genre is here to stay with such staples as Fortnite, Warzone, and Apex Legends constantly seeking center stage. Competing in this realm is incredibly difficult for other battle royale games and all too often they simply don’t have the pedigree or staying power.
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Over the last few years a massive number of battle royale games have popped up, some still sticking around with a loyal player base, but many fading into obscurity. It’s clear this genre is here to stay for the long haul. Unfortunately, due to the juggernauts, the following battle royale games have withered away or are doing everything they can to hang while trying to iterate and innovate.
Radical Heights’ short-lived story is quite a sad one, mostly due to the fact that it was chasing a trend where others were already setting it. Radical Heights was created as a last-ditch attempt to save Cliff Bleszinski’s now-defunct Boss Key Productions.
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After the tragedy that is Lawbreakers, a hero shooter that died out almost immediately, Boss Key Productions attempted to cobble together a very early build of Radical Heights. This battle royale was unique in that it featured a neon-soaked 1980s setting with some innovated cash-in mechanics. However, due to a buggy and laggy experience, players fell right off this bandwagon.
The Culling 2 was, of course, the follow-up to the unique, yet underwhelming The Culling which featured a focus on melee combat. The Culling 2 originally released back in 2018 with the game featuring a plethora of technical issues.
In 2020, the devs of The Culling 2 tried to reanimate it from the grave with a completely new monetization model that required you to pay-per-match. Obviously, this off-putting method didn’t work and players that tried the game very quickly fell off. The Culling 2 was another example of a dev team trying, and failing, to cash in on the battle royale trend.
The Darwin Project was a downright unique take on the battle royale genre. This iteration of the formula featured heavy survival and crafting elements. Matches here were populated by less than ten players, putting the focus on exploration and survival, over sheer action.
The Darwin Project took place in a beautiful, sci-fi-tinged snowy landscape. Players that dropped into the match had to craft arrows, create fires to stay warm, open chests to find helpful items, and even hunt wildlife to heal. All of this was in addition to the melee-focused and long-range bow-and-arrow combat. Unfortunately, the player base dwindled quickly and the developers couldn’t continue with it.
Before the massive success of Warzone, many Call of Duty fans opted for the polished and enjoyable battle royale experience found within Blackout. This was the battle royale mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Blackout is still enjoyed to this day with a pretty decent player base, but, because of Warzone’s popularity, many have forgotten about it.
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Blackout features a colorful and diverse map with plenty of fan-favorite locations from the Black Ops series. It offers a more thoughtful and in-depth battle royale experience with plenty of weapon customization from sights to clips to other attachments. Players can even use perks to enhance their play for a short period of time.
Hyperscape is Ubisoft’s take on the free-to-play battle royale genre. Hyperscape easily sets itself apart with a colorful neon-soaked, sci-fi setting. The map in-game is a blend of European charm with dystopian overtones. It’s downright unique and intriguing, so much so that the game does have a player base, but nowhere close in comparison to the likes of Warzone or Apex Legends.
Hyperscape does feature highly polished parkour traversal and simple, yet punchy weapon combat. What really sets Hyperscape apart from the competition is the fantastic set of mobility options. Also, weapons and perks can be updated multiple times to make them more efficient and powerful.
CRSD F.O.A.D. or Cuisine Royale Second Edition: Fulfillment of all Desires, aside from being a long game name, is the updated version of Cuisine Royale. Cuisine Royale started life as a joke battle royale game in which players would don kitchen equipment as armor pieces, all set in a picturesque countryside setting.
Jokes aside, Cuisine Royale ended up garnering attention from players due to its unique setting, silly gameplay elements such as the aforementioned kitchen equipment, and mystical powers. The game did slowly start to die off though and the developers updated the game to CRSD F.O.A.D. This update is a more focused approach to the standard battle royale but with an emphasis on powerful items and mystical abilities.
Z1 Battle Royale started off as H1Z1, which was then spun off into two separate modes, a survival mode, and a battle royale adjacent mode. The latter became a popular battle royale game that initially rivaled PUBG. It featured intense combat, a plethora of vehicles to drive, and a unique map.
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While Z1 Battle Royale is very much still around today, the player base has dried up quite a bit, with developer Daybreak, lowering the amount of content output. Over time, they tried new maps and game modes, including a Team Deathmatch mode. Unfortunately, these changes weren’t enough to keep a strong player base overall.
It’s hard to believe that Battlefield 5, the more “realistic” take on the shooter genre, featured a battle royale mode known as Firestorm. Firestorm takes the standard battle royale formula of scavenging for weapons and gear, driving vehicles around, and generally surviving until the very end.
Firestorm does feature a huge and diverse map from small villages to snowy forest regions. The tactical gameplay from the traditional multiplayer matches is also present here and it makes for some very intense matches, especially when playing as a solo player. Unfortunately, EA didn’t do a fantastic job with marketing this mode, and its overall lack of support has led to a dwindled player base.
Ring of Elysium is a PC-focused battle royale that has been around since 2018. Unfortunately, the game never made its way to consoles which might have helped to grow the player base overall. Ring of Elysium is set apart by its realistic graphics, unique traversal options and tools, and escaping the match on a helicopter
The game most certainly has a loyal and strong player base but it isn’t a part of the regular battle royale discourse. Perhaps the game can still come to consoles one day to give more players a chance at its unique experience.
Realm Royale is a fantasy, class-based battle royale with a very vibrant, colorful, and cartoony art style. It’s quite clear that this game was attempting to draw some of the crowd away from Fortnite with a similar style.
Realm Royale sets itself apart through the use of unique magical abilities and weapons. Your character can ride a horse mount across the map to speed up the traversal time.
Unfortunately, Realm Royale, despite being a fun take on the battle royale genre, has had its player base all but die out, mostly down to the fact that the studio, Hi-Rez, abandoned content updates and plans for the game. Sure, it’s fun to still dive into but it’s mostly populated by bots and ultimately feels like a lifeless experience.
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About The Author
(17 Articles Published)
Geoffrey is a gaming list writer for TheGamer where he writes about all aspects of the games industry with a specialty in indie games, platformers, and lesser-known gaming experiences. Geoffrey also runs a full-time, independent indie gaming YouTube channel called The Indie Gaming Guild. Make sure you go check out his channel for tons of indie reviews, impressions, gameplay, live streams, and much more! Check out his channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheIndieGamingGuild
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