PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds creators have expressed "growing concerns" over Fortnite's Battle Royale mode, with developer Bluehole suggesting that Epic Games has acted untoward and may be "replicating" the hugely popular PC game.
The news comes after Epic announced that the Fortnite Battle Royale mode would be made available for free to everyone starting September 26, with PS4, Xbox One and PC owners who don't own the base game still being able to play the new mode. Many suspected this move was made to jump the gun on PUBG which will launch on Xbox One later this year, before it has its debut console release.
Now Bluehole has commented on this announcement and Fortnite's Battle Royale mode in general: We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of [Unreal Engine 4], the engine we licensed for the game,” Chang Han Kim, Bluehole’s vice president, said in a statement. “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.”
Han Kim continued: “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.”
Han Kim then suggested that legal action may be taken against Epic Games. “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action,” he concluded.
With Epic having been very open about using PUBG as an inspiration — the developer stated that they "loved" the PC game and had therefore decided to use Fortnite as "a great foundation for our own [Battle Royale game]" — it comes as a surprise that Bluehole could now be looking to pursue further action against them. However, if they have reason to believe that Epic has lifted core elements from PUBG directly from their time watching the game being developed, and that its release on console could limit PUBG's sales, then they may have a case. We'll have to wait and see if Bluehold decides to continue down this route, or Han Kim simply wanted to call out what he believes is unprofessional behavior.