5 Innovative Battle Royale Games We Can’t Wait to Play

Lucas DeRuyter
Games Call of Duty
Games Call of Duty Xbox PC Gaming PlayStation

Seemingly overnight, the battle royale genre became the most popular and profitable in the video game industry. The success of PUBG and Fornite have made game developers and the groups that fund them eager to create their own spin on this juggernaut of a genre. The following five games stand to shake up the battle royale formula and will, hopefully, take the genre in new, unique directions.

Maelstrom

Battle royale -- but on boats.

Maelstrom is a promising battle royale game currently in Early Access on Steam (a formal release date has yet to be announced). This PC game takes the genre in a new direction. Players control ships instead of people, and the map is littered with giant monsters that can destroy nearby ships.

PvE is a welcome addition to the battle royal genre, as it makes camping a less viable option and encourages new levels of strategic play. Should you work together with the enemy players in the area to kill a sea monster, or should you slink away and try to pick them off while they are distracted by this massive foe? These situations pop up often in Maelstrom and how players react to them is the difference between sailing to victory or sinking in defeat.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s Blackout Mode

A close-quarters battle royale mode.

It’s a little weird, and in some ways sad, that the franchise that at one point defined the FPS genre is now chasing trends. But that doesn’t mean Call of Duty’s battle royale mode, Blackout, can’t be amazing. There’s little information available on what unique features and mechanics will distinguish this game mode from others in the genre. Treyarch has yet to even commit to the number of players present in each match. However, there are plenty of ways they can implement classic CoD designs in Blackout.

Maps and player limits should be relatively small in Blackout, with no more than around fifty players active in any match. Call of Duty games are fast-paced and compact, which could work really well for a battle royale match. Adding the over-the-top killstreaks that helped popularize the series, could propel this game to the top of the battle royale pile. If you kill fifteen other players in a match, you deserve to call in a tactical nuke to finish off some of the rest.

The Darwin Project 

A battle royale straight from the silver screen.

Placing players in what is essentially a post-apocalyptic game show, The Darwin Project pushes a lot of ideas common in the battle royale genre further than in previous games. In this game, players have to craft all of their weapons by harvesting materials from destructible objects in the environment. Moreover, throughout the match, players have to find or create sources of heat to fight off the cold inherent to this Northern Canadian setting.

The game also gives players the option to play as a “game director” who can influence the match however they see fit, adding another unique layer to this already rich title. The Darwin Project‘s creative direction and distinctive style certainly set it apart from other battle royale games, which often fail to innovate in hopes of turning a quick profit.

Dying Light: Bad Blood

Player vs. player vs. zombie.

Dying Light, a surprisingly solid take on the zombie survival genre, is getting a battle royale mode nearly four years after its initial release. Never taking itself too seriously, Dying Light combined weapon durability, parkour mechanics, and a vicious day-night cycle to create a fun and challenging experience. So far, it appears that Bad Blood will bring just as much fun and innovation to the battle royale genre as the main game brought to the zombie survival genre.

Bad Blood, players will have to fight zombies to gather resources at the beginning of the match. Then, they’ll need to battle each other for a spot on the helicopter that flies them out of the arena. It seems this will be a fast-paced mode that will challenge players to wait for the perfect moment to attack their competitors. Bad Blood‘s environmental threat is a welcome addition to the battle royale genre. Hopefully, the gameplay will live up to its intriguing concept.

Battlerite Royale

A second chance for a game that never got its due.

Battleritea MOBA game that lives in Overwatch‘s shadow, is getting a battle royale mode. This game mode will lean into the game’s existing hero-based shooter structure and, perhaps, add a more strategic element to the heavily luck-based genre. While characters will likely need adjustments to their stats and abilities to function in this new mode, there’s a lot of potential in this idea.

Batttlerite never really got the chance to prove itself as a quality game when it first launched. This update could give it the second chance it deserves. The introduction of different character classes in a battle royale game should give it an added level of depth not yet seen in other games of this type. If done well, Battlerite could finally earn a bit of mainstream success.

Lucas DeRuyter
University of Wisconsin Madison graduate with a deep interest in media, writing, and storytelling.