PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds studio Bluehole is concerned that one of its fast followers is following a little too close. The company released a statement today addressing similarities between its phenomenally successful survival shooter and the new Battle Royale mode in Epic Games' Fortnite.
"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.
As for Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene, Bluehole highlighted a comment he made in a recent Reddit AMA session, when he said "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!"
Epic Games did not immediately return a request for comment.
UPDATE: Executive producer Changhan Kim spoke to PC Gamer, clarifying the nature of Bluehole's complaint. He stressed that it's not able the Battle Royale mode itself, but more to do with Epic Games itself.
"There were other BR gamemodes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5's battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue," he said. "I think it's great that there's more competition and everyone should be able to create their own battle royale game mode, and it's not about the idea itself, it's about Epic Games.
He continued: "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.
"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."
Kim also expressed concern that through using Epic's technical support to improve PUBG's own gameplay, the team will inadvertently be empowering the competition as Epic could use any improvements made in Fortnite.