While the concept of starting with 100 players who duke it out was unlikely to be protectable, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (“PUBG”) had other, more specific claims to enforce. Mainly, they didn’t feel that “Fortnite” was putting their own spin on the new genre, and was more of a copycat.
The hit game “PUBG” was not the inventor of the concept of battle royale (that honor would go to the author of “Battle Royale,” Koushun Takami) it undoubtedly was the game objective that made the title iconic, which Bluehole vice president Chang Han Kim pointed out.
“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of (Unreal Engine 4), the engine we licensed for the game,” Kim said in a statement. “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.”
Though both the games have reached an incredible amount of players, “Fortnite” quickly outpaced predecessor “PUBG,” reaching 20 million players in November 2017 after releasing its free-to-play battle royale mode. “PUBG” reached the same milestone in the same month, selling 20 million copies— except it took much longer than “Fortnite.” This could be in part due to the cost of “PUBG” versus “Fortnite’s Battle Royale” being free-to-play, and also due to the issues “PUBG” has had with cheating and hackers. Plus, with its cartoon-like violence, “Fortnite” appeals to younger players and even released on the Nintendo Switch recently, growing its playerbase further. Despite the bitterness that PUBG Corp. has over the rapid success of “Fortnite,” their flagship title is not hurting for players. As of June 19, “PUBG” has over 400 million players worldwide.
It is unclear at this point if a settlement was reached. Bluehole and Epic Games did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
For a more in-depth look at the laws behind the feud between PUBG Corp and Epic Games, be sure to read Variety’s Explainer.