PUBG dev Bluehole concerned over Fortnite's Battle Royale [Up: Background Both Sides]

Update 2: PUBG exec clarifies objection to Fortnite Battle Royale: 'it's not about the idea itself, it's about Epic Games'

update: the full statement


Bluehole, Inc., developers of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), the first standalone Battle Royale survival shooter game, responded today to growing concerns regarding the similarities between the battle royale mode in Epic Games’ newly revealed Fortnite and PUBG.

“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,” said Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc. “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.”

The development team for PUBG has no relationship to Fortnite’s development as concerns around User Interface (UI), gameplay and structural replication in the battle royale mode exist.

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

With its release on March 23, 2017, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is a last man standing shooter that drops players on a realistic 8 x 8 km island where they start with nothing in an ever diminishing field of play. Gamers must fight to locate weapons, vehicles and supplies as they strive to be the lone survivor.

In a recent Reddit AMA (e.g. Ask Me Anything) session, Brendan Greene (aka PLAYERUKNOWN) was asked about other companies replicating the Battle Royale experience:

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

Chang Han Kim closed, “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”

"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," said Bluehole VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim. "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."
He added, "We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don't feel that it's right."
Bluehole said the PUBG community has been providing it with evidence of just how closely Fortnite has followed the formula for its own game, adding that it is considering further action on the matter.
// Mod Edit 2:

So I thought some extra information on this situation might help from looking at this from either side's perspective.

1.) It's plausible that this game bothers Bluehole where other games did not as there was a rumor floating around that Tencent was trying to buy Bluehole, and now Epic, which has a ~40-49% ownership by Tencent, is making a similar game. I don't believe PUBG has had an official launch in China yet either, so due to Tencent, this could beat them to that market. Battle Royale games are very popular in China and Korean companies are very successful in China as well, so there's a significant business angle there.

2.) Epic and Bluehole did work together to modify Unreal Engine to help support games like this. It's possible to make an argument that Epic benefited in getting up a competing game due to this.

3.) It is worth noting that Bluehole was actually founded on both corporate theft (they stole Lineage 3's art assets, design documents, and technology, and lost at the South Korean supreme court) and clone games (Devilian is very much Diablo), so it's plausible they feel that the legal system is actually an effective way to deal with issues given they've lost to it before. Others might see this as hypocritical given nothing was found to be wrong with Devilian.

4.) It's also worth noting that PUBG is actually a rather late comer in this genre, even if the genre originator was working on it. H1Z1 was a game he contracted to work on (and we've never known if he made a deal to keep the rights to the game design after doing so) before joining with Bluehole. Similarly, The Culling has an exceptionally similar design with less players, and released around a year before PUBG did with no work from PlayerUnknown himself, which Bluehole has raised no objection to. It's worth noting this was also an Unreal Engine 4 game. Daybreak (formerly SOE) has said that PUBG wouldn't exist without H1Z1, but has not made outward legal threats toward Bluehole.

5.) Bluehole does object to Epic referencing PUBG in their discussions of Fortnite Battle Royale. Now, there are certainly lots of games that do this with terms like Metroidvania or Dark Souls games, but I'm not sure if a legal precedent has been established that this is actually okay to do.
What, are you gonna sue? Jesus christ, you're making money hand over fist so put that money into something more useful than a team of lawyer's pockets....
I mean, guys, you were first, but given the tech side of your game is not there yet, it's a given a major player will come in and make it far better.

If I were PU, I'd be investing my profits right now, for they won't last long.
Just gonna give my thoughts like I did in the other thread.

They should have known this was coming. There are going to be MANY clones and straight up ripoffs. Especially on STEAM.

But them getting upset that they were referenced and contemplating action? I don't know. That's a bit overboard imo.

If roles were reversed. Everyone would rightfully be up in arms if Epic came out and said this shit.
Well, they're not similarities. They're downright copying what they think can work with their game. Get used to it, because they're one of the first but they won't be the last.


If all DLC came tied to $13 figurines, I'd consider all DLC to be free
They will be concerned even more next year when all the clones are unveiled and Ubi/EA/Activision jump in with similar modes on their biggest IPs.
At least in the US, you cannot copyright game mechanics. So while they can complain about the games being similar, there's not much else they can do, AFAIK.
That is how the game industry works. There is no game with patented mechanics/features.

Honestly after playing both, PUBG seems so outdated. Fortnite is far more polished.
Uh, so? As long as they don't rip off assets or trademarks then it's fair game. It's up to you or them to prove you've got the most fun implementation of the concept.
Thats literally just how the video game industry works. Its probably how nearly every industry works. One guy has an idea and people like it and then everyone else copies it with their own twists. All you can do is refine and evolve your own idea to continue to stand out in the crowd.
Well, they will have lot of concerns from now on because everyone will jump on the PUBG formula, I bet the next E3 we already see a PUBG clone made by a triple A dev.

About the same happened to Minecraft for example.
I feel like they are serving different areas of the same genre.

Namedropping the most successful game in the genre shouldn't be problem I feel.
Potentially using knowledge you only gathered because of your work as the provider of an engine for your own game is something completely different though.
I understand getting pissed off because they keep mentioning PUGB in their marketing, but copying the game thing is just stupid as shit. You don't have a patent on Battle Royale shooters. Plus your game is still in early access.