Black Ops 4 Part 3
Photo Credit: Kienan Lafferty

Black Ops 4 vs Twitch Part III: Call of Duty Battle Royale

We’ve seen it time and time again ever since the breakout of the multiplayer survival genre Battle Royale ever since it got mainstream fame thanks to PUBG back in mid-2017 where almost every single Twitch live streamer suddenly played nothing else but PUBG. It was because of the genre that Twitch was housed more by the mainstream-based demographic or “normies” especially after the release of Epic Games’ Fortnite.

Names such as Ninja, Myth and Dr. DisRespect would pop up as top streamers for the genre. Old and tried streamers such as Summit1G, Shroud and Syndicate would also become very relevant again after playing the currently trending genre.

Twitch became the foremost biggest influence for battle royale. If it wasn’t for a crazy chunk of the community to be playing the game, it would have been seen as a regular multiplayer shooter. There are a lot of unique multiplayer games out there, however, they did not have the huge influence undertaken by high profile streamers. Fortnite would not have been in every single news outlet if it wasn’t for the significance brought in by Ninja alone. The game is a huge blowout to the point where ¾ of the gaming population on PC alone is playing Fortnite.

PUBG is one of the longest reigning #1 most played game on Steam on a daily basis ever since June 2017, amassing to more than a million players and even scaling to more than 2 million.

So why do people love to watch battle royale? If you ask me, it’s because it is a roller coaster ride of emotions: at one point you feel as tense as the streamer, you feel anxious, you feel excited and even feel relaxed at times. It is the spontaneous pacing of this genre along with unpredictable outcomes that make this sort of game very addictive to watch. It’s as if the viewers can actually follow through due to the simplistic goal of the game along with a few to a minimum amount of crazy terminologies and techniques. Anyone could just hop in after a few short hours and enjoy without having to think much.

A lot of other game devs want a piece of that success along with the influence of big Twitch streamers. Unfortunately, PUBG and Fortnite are just irreplaceable. The battle royale genre is even the doom for other games that try to compete for the same crown: take a look at Radical Heights, for example. It may be just an Early Access release, but it has already flopped due to lots of negative feedback, with players comparing the same Early Access release of Fortnite. This even lead to the closure of Bosskey Productions, the dev team for Radical Heights. The Culling also became a flop. Sure, it did have a rather large population of active users for 6 months but it died down eventually due to bugs and lots of instability issues.

While there is currently a dime a dozen battle royale games at the moment, Activision has sought to join in on the fun:

On May 17, 2018, they announced Call of Duty Black Ops 4, with a new game mode that practically destroyed their own signature campaign mode: a battle royale game called Blackout.

This came in as a surprise to many since there actually hasn’t been any battle royale game coming from an AAA publisher such as Activision until now. Activision claims that Blackout is “unlike any other battle royale game.” Oh boy, I wonder who else said the same thing? Definitely not Radical Heights or Warface, wink wink.

While the announcement came to anger a lot of players, Call of Duty may create something new to the battle royale table. If you haven’t seen it, here is a breakdown:

As you can see, there are multiple promises in their battle royale:

  • Land, sea and air battles
  • Memorable characters coming back such as Alex Mason, Woods, Hudson and Reznov.
  • Large verticality
  • Iconic multiplayer maps rolled into one giant map
  • Classic Cod FPS in a battle royale

The trailer brought in so much mixed reactions from people getting on the hype to the usual players who despise Call of Duty just for being Call of Duty. In my personal opinion, I’m not really psyched up for the battle royale since I always play the over-the-top singleplayer campaign more but I’m interested in knowing how the battle royale mode plays out.

If this becomes a hit, there is no doubt that PUBG and Fortnite are going to face a formidable opponent. Even famous battle royale streamers could migrate from the tried-and-tested survival games to the latest CoD game. Imagine Ninja preferring Blackout more than Fortnite. Sounds odd but it could happen, given that battle royale will still be a hip genre in the future months of 2018 and beyond.