When a gaming fad takes hold, we briefly see a period where as many people as possible attempt to embrace it. When Minecraft first found success, a number of knock-offs appeared. Battle royale is another example. This mode of gameplay hit gold with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which led other companies to lust after that success. Epic Games put it in Fortnite, Rockstar added it to Grand Theft Auto Online, and Activision had Treyarch add Blackout to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Now, PUBG Corp, makers of PUBG, has filed a lawsuit for supposed copyright infringement against Epic Games in Korea, in what is a waste of time and huge show of sour grapes.
The specifics are that PUBG Corps claims Epic Games is copying the UI and weapon designs in PUBG and using them in Fortnite. Which, if true, would be something that could be sued over. Except, anyone who has played both games realizes how silly this is. UIs in similar sorts of games often look alike, and there is clearly no blatant copying here. Also, Fortnite’s weapons clearly look different and have different stats than PUBG’s. If PUBG Corp is going to try and sue saying they are the the only game that could have, say, a pistol, then clearly they have a lot of other games to get out there and sue.
Rather, this comes across as petty and frivolous. Fortnite has skyrocketed past PUBG in terms of sales and success both on PCs, consoles and mobile devices. It has enjoyed partnerships with companies like Marvel. PUBG Corp suing comes across as sour grapes, since anyone can see no IP or original content is actually being stolen. Similar sorts of weapons appear, but look different and distinct in each game. Fortnite has far more weapons than PUBG does, in fact. And it has a more original and distinct look that uses whimsical designs, bright environments and building mechanics. PUBG, as good as it is, looks like most other sepia-toned war games.
I mean, if we are going to go based on originality, let’s remember that battle royale is no new concept. Last man standing modes have in games for years. You could find variations of it in Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, and Unreal Tournament 2004. Minecraft even had a Survival Games mode. And even if it was, you can not call dibs and copyright a game mode. The idea is ridiculous. If some other company happens to put the same mode in their game, then proceed to do it better and become more successful, you can not just sue them for it.
The originality issues continue, as PUBG started out as an ARMA 2 mod. Brendan Greene, the titular PlayerUnknown, made it as a response to Japan’s Battle Royale. He brought it into ARMA 3 and adapted it for H1Z1. If you look at PUBG as it is now and compare it to ARMA 3, you will see far more similarities between the two than between PUBG and Fortnite’s appearance. But hey, it’s not like they can sue Bohemia Interactive, right? Let’s not even get into the fact that PUBG is running on Epic Games’ own Unreal engine!
PUBG Corp is opening all sorts of cans of worms with this lawsuit, and none of them are good. If it goes after Epic Games for Fortnite, then shouldn’t we be seeing it trying to go after Activision for what the company is doing with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4? Or maybe Bohemia Interactive should consider suing PUBG Corp, since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds would not be here without ARMA 2? Instead of frivolously using the court system, companies like PUBG Corp should be working harder on making their games better.