Modern video games might have made battle royales the hottest (and most lucrative) trend currently in pop culture, but the last-man-standing component was introduced long before players were flossing. Battle Royales are also not restricted to video games, as the last-man-standing has been a central feature in important books and movies too.
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Here’s a brief history of the battle royales.
The First Of The Battle Royales
The last-man-standing feature that is central to the battle royale genre was first introduced in video games in 1985 in Bomberman. Bomberman is a strategic, maze-based multiplayer video game franchise currently owned by Konami. There have been many different versions of the game released over the years, with the latest release coming from Nintendo in 2017.
Bomberman was the only battle royale around until the first-person shooter, Unreal Tournament, was introduced by Epic Games (which obviously has a knack for battle royales) in 1999.
Books And Movies
Battle royales don’t just take place in video games. There have been plenty of books and movies that strongly feature the last-man-standing theme.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings almost immediately comes to mind. Battle royale is basically in the slogan – “one ring to rule them all“. The book was first published all the way back in 1954, and has since become one of the most popular franchises ever. Peter Jackson turned the franchise into a popular movie series.
The term “battle royale” was first coined by the 1999 book, Battle Royale by Kinji Fukasaku, which was also turned into a movie in 2000.
Another popular book-to-movie franchise which heavily features the battle royale theme is Suzanna Collins’ The Hunger Games series, which was first published in 2008 and turned into movies in 2012.
The Hunger Games inspired other battle royales, like the 2012 Minecraft mod, Minecraft Survival Games.
The Big Battle Royales
The battle royale genre might have been around for a while, but they’ve blown up in the last couple of years, thanks to the following video games.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released in 2017 and has taken the world by storm. It has completely popularised battle royales and boasts more than 120 million players.
Epic Games’ Fortnite quickly followed suit in the same year as PUBG. This is the mother of all battler royales. If you haven’t played this multiplayer game where players are dropped via parachute into an ever-shrinking arena to be the last man standing, then you’ve definitely heard about it. It’s basically the current cultural phenomenal enjoying massive success as well as experiencing a few controversies.
Apex Legends was surprise-released in 2019 by EA and has been very successful in terms of pulling in initial players.
As the genre continues to gain popularity, it will probably continue to evolve and be showcased and interpreted in new (and possibly brutal) battle royales.
Which battle royale book, movie, show, or video game is your favourite? Drop a comment in the comments section below.