The best battle royale games, modes and mods

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may have popularised the genre inspired by the Japanese movie, but it’s not the only battle royale game pitting players against each other in desperate fights to the death. Below are 11 games, modes and mods that you should check out if you can’t get enough of hunting your fellow man.

GAMES

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Let’s get the current top dog out of the way first, shall we? PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG, is still in Early Access, but it’s already swallowed up the lives of millions of players. In each match, 100 survivors are air dropped into a bucolic Russian island, seemingly abandoned during or just after the Soviet era. It’s a huge place, but the play area is always shrinking, forcing players to race towards safety on foot or using cars, bikes and boats, all while trying to murder each other with a wide range of guns and melee weapons. It’s a game filled with long moments of quiet tension, punctuated by chaotic, nerve-racking battles.

H1Z1: King of the Kill

Another Early Access game, H1Z1: King of the Kill was spun out of Daybreak’s zombie survival game. The survival aspect became its own separate game, Just Survive, while the more competitive, PvP side of things became King of the Kill. Frenetic and fast-paced, it’s more of an arena shooter than a game like PUBG, so you won’t have to wait long to get into a gunfight. Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene was also a consultant on H1Z1 before making Battlegrounds.

Ark: Survival of the Fittest

Like H1Z1, Ark: Survival of the Fittest is another arena-style battle royale game, and is similarly a spin-off. Its hook, not surprisingly given its progenitor, is that there are dinosaurs and monsters to watch out for, as well as 71 human adversaries potentially hunting you down. Other elements from Survival Evolved have made it in, too, including riding and taming creatures, tribes and traps. Unfortunately, it’s struggled to retain its playerbase in the face of PUBG.

The Culling

If you prefer battle royales of the more intimate variety, there’s The Culling and its 8-player and 16-player blood-soaked arenas. Though it’s fast-paced, there’s still time to craft equipment and set traps. The central conceit is a big draw, too, set as the game is in a crazed game show for sadists. It’s been in Early Access since March 2016, and while it was popular initially, it looks like player numbers might be on the wane.

Last Man Standing

Budget PUBG is probably the clearest way to describe Last Man Standing. It’s set on an island with 100 players trying to kill each other, the play area is a big circle that shrinks over time, mods can be scavenged and attached to guns, it’s got loot crates—there’s a long list of similarities, but Last Man Standing is free. It’s not quite as polished as its premium counterpart, however.

GAME MODES

GTA Online, Motor Wars

GTA Online recently got a competitive mode called Motor Wars, which has some similarities to popular battle royale games: a shrinking kill box, arriving from the sky, then finding the best weapons possible on the ground. The key difference is that it's more focused around vehicle combat, and all the cars are marked on the map, as well as the players driving them. The shrinking kill space provides a similar amount of tension, though, and there's tons more potential in building on the idea, given the size of the map they've got to play with. Sam had fun with it, even though it has some flaws.

Fortnite

Epic has announced a new battle royale mode for their base-building romp, Fortnite. It’s due out this month and will see up to 100 players duking it out until there’s only one left. The mode was put together by Epic’s Unreal Tournament team, who were busy experimenting while Fortnite was in development. The scavenging and building from the game’s regular mode will also feature in this new one, so you’ll be able to create bases and fortifications to hole up in while you wait for everyone else to die. They’ll probably be doing the same, mind you.

Unturned

Unturned is a blocky, free-to-play zombie survival game, but it’s also got a battle royale arena mode. Players are spawned at random points on the map and must hunt each other down while a barrier closes in, damaging those outside it. It’s as straightforward as a battle royale can be, but there’s one odd wrinkle: you can’t damage people with your fists, so you’d better get a weapon as quickly as you can.

MODS

PlayerUnknown’s Battle Royale in Arma 2, Arma 3

Before PUBG, Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene created DayZ: Battle Royale, an offshoot of the original DayZ mod for Arma 2, inspired by the Japanese film. When players started leaving DayZ for the standalone Early Access version, Greene switched to developing Battle Royale in Arma 3. Later, it was licensed to Daybreak for H1Z1 and became the foundation for King of the Kill. A lot of Battlegrounds’ features started in PlayerUnknown’s Battle Royale, and Arma 3’s realistic aesthetic isn’t far of PUBG’s.

Rust: Battle Royale

Rust: Battle Royale is an unofficial mode for Facepunch Studio’s survival game, made by Intoxicated Gaming. Inspired by the Arma 3 Battle Royale mod, it combines the brutality of Rust—you even begin naked—with the race to be the final person left alive. All the survival and crafting elements have been torn out, with the focus being entirely on gearing up and murdering your fellow players in a map that becomes smaller and smaller as bombs start to fall.

Garry's Mod Battle Royale

Created last year, this Garry’s Mod game mode, like so many in this list, owes its creation to the Arma 3 mod, being a lightweight recreation of it designed by IC4RO so they could play it with their friends. Since then, however, it’s become popular, no doubt helped by the fact that Garry’s Mod is considerably cheaper than Arma 3 or Battlegrounds.