PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole Inc.’s recent statement on Fortnite‘s Battle Royale raised some eyebrows. The studio took issue with Epic Games’ 100-player PvP mode, stating in a press release that it was concerned about Fortnite possibly “replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”
Bluehole’s move ended up stirring controversy as many objected to developers claiming ownership of game modes, which has resulted in the studio having to clarify its own press release. Reaching out to PC Gamer, VP and executive producer Changhan Kim said (translated by marketing and events manager, Sammie Kang) that Bluehole’s issue isn’t with the mode itself but with Epic Games who ended up making something very similar to PUBG and it’s particularly troubling for the developer as it uses Epic’s Unreal Engine and pays “a large amount of royalties” to the company.
Everyone else that released a battle royale game mode made their own thing, but it was Epic Games that made this game that is similar to us that has similar elements, and that’s the concern, that it was Epic Games.
We use Unreal Engine to develop PUBG, and we pay a large amount of royalties based on the size of our success to Epic Games, and Epic Games always promoted their licensing models [saying] “We want to support the success indie developers”, and [Bluehole is] this indie developer that has been the most successful one using the Unreal Engine this year, and that’s the problem that I see.
When asked if Bluehole wouldn’t have an issue with Fortnite‘s Battle Royale if the company didn’t have any connection with Epic, Kim said:
We’re not claiming any kind of ownership over the game mode or genre itself, it’s not for us to even comment. There were a lot of copycats in China and [in that] industry there is a lot of battle royale games that look exactly [the] same as ours, so we will definitely look into similarities if there are different products that are very similar to our game, but even before we actually looked deeper into how similar [Fortnite Battle Royale] is, we wanted to raise an issue because this is from Epic Games. We could be the biggest indie success story that they have and there will be other indie developers that aspire to succeed like us using Unreal Engine, and they would be concerned, right? So we just wanted to raise an issue and let people know that it can be a problem.
In terms of a resolution, Kim said that Bluehole has reached out to Epic but he’s concerned about seeking technical assistance for Unreal Engine from the company as it may end up appropriating features and ideas.
Towards the end of the interview, Kang told PC Gamer that Bluehole wasn’t taken on board when Epic used PUBG in its marketing materials for Fortnite. “There were players like, ‘Oh it’s cool, now we get to play PUBG in Fortnite,’ and there was nothing we could do about it, because it was depicted that we were officially involved,” he said.
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[Source: PC Gamer]
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