9 games that need a battle royale mode

Our assumption is that big publishers are looking at the success of PUBG and working out how they can take a piece of it for themselves. In a lot of cases, the potential exists within games that are already out there—pretty much every open world game with a competitive element could borrow the format of a shrinking competitive space, randomly distributed weapons and dozens of players, to variable results.

Some would suit it better than others, though. Here are nine games where we think a battle royale-esque mode could be explored to great effect. We'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments, too. 

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

MGSV has the tools, maps and precise combat for a great battle royale game. The layout of both open worlds has a variety of towns, roads, cliffs, tunnels and open areas that would lend themselves well to large scale firefights with a shrinking combat radius. There's a huge variety of weapons that could be taken from the game's upgrade tree, alongside unusual MGS novelties like the Hand of Jehuty. The more open layout of the Angola-Zaire border map would probably be a better fit than the tunnel-y Afghanistan environment.

Perhaps using the Fulton system could bag you bonuses, like vehicles, temporary AI companions, helicopter support or weapon drops. You could be rewarded for taking down targets without killing them, or for sneaking up on enemies. There's a bunch of potential, there, and all of this sounds better than signing into MGSV for the first time in three months to find out which of your FOB bases have been robbed.—Samuel Roberts

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Okay, the open world component of Black Flag isn't multiplayer, but imagine if it was. Imagine having that gorgeous set of islands and glittering blue oceans in a battle royale contest. Do you steal a boat and try to keep to the open waters, sniping other players with mortars? Perhaps you would prefer to stalk Black Flag’s intricate islands where you can air-assassinate players that get too close. I like the idea that the shrinking danger zone would force players into different modes of traversal across land and sea. You lose the thrill of looting houses for hats, but the thrill of being a pirate and thus having a cool hat already surely makes up for it. Perhaps the boats-only, multiplayer-focused Skull and Bones can scratch the itch.—Tom Senior

Dark Souls

PvP duelling in Dark Souls is already excellent and Lordran is a fascinating interlinked map. The shrinking boundary system would be difficult to implement in Dark Souls’ twisting, tiered map, but you could switch off zones in waves. Being told to get out of Darkroot in five minutes would be a good test of your map knowledge, and it would push you into desperate scraps with other fleeing knights. I like the idea that the final duel could take place in Lordran, The Undead Burg or—god save you—the narrow walkways of Blighttown.—Tom Senior

GTA Online

I can't think of a game that would suit a battle royale mode more: empty out Los Santos, spread players across the map, then dot weapons behind buildings, drop cars in the middle of empty streets where players can fight for them, and make military helicopters so rare and hard to reach that tens of players die just trying to steal them. And yes, the shrinking combat zone would be perfect with this backdrop: you could isolate the final showdown to one city block, or to the beach, or to Vinewood Hills. There's even an existing Freemode Event, Penned In, that shrinks the play space as competitors try to force each other out of it in vehicles.

I'm convinced Rockstar will add this to the game's roster of Adversary Modes eventually, if they can make it work on the technical side. Every Bullet Counts shows how they've been thinking more about survival-type modes for GTA Online. Surely a full-on battle royale mode is how one of the biggest multiplayer games in the world gets even bigger.—Samuel Roberts

Far Cry 5

This is another one that I think is likely in some form, maybe as DLC, since the game's still in development. Far Cry 5's easy movement, wilderness-meets-small-town setting and range of vehicles would be spot on. In my hands-on with the single-player at E3, I sent one of my AI companions up to the top of a church to man the tower as a sniping spot. Approaching a point like that in a battle royale mode would be incredibly tense. Depending on the size restrictions, you could even let players throw in their own arenas via the game's map editor.—Samuel Roberts

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon is still awaiting its 4v4 PvP mode, so anything approaching a battle royale-type option seems unlikely in the near future. Like MGSV, though, Wildlands has the tools and vehicles to create some interesting open world encounters, even if you might need to resize the map a bit to make it work. The existing co-op format of Ghost Recon would really suit squad-based play, too.—Samuel Roberts

Neptune's Pride

This competitive real time strategy game is probably brutal enough without the inclusion of a battle royale mode, but if I was going to move the battle royale format into a different genre, this is how I’d do it. As the hours pass the constricting death zone forces players to invade each other’s territory, and you have be ready to abandon your planets and move your forces at a moment’s notice. Admittedly this favours players who happen to own the territory that becomes the final showdown zone, but other players fleeing the border would naturally pool resources to take out the embedded player. It could lead to some frantic, climactic final battles and creates a high-stakes end game that strategy games tend to lack.—Tom Senior

The Division

In reading about The Division's existing survival mode, I stumbled across this nice and sincere petition to get a battle royale mode added with version 1.8 of the game. Alas, this hasn't happened yet, but the existence of such a petition does suggest that at least 200 players would love to see what this would look like in The Division's abandoned Manhattan city blocks.

It seems like a reformatting of the existing survival mode would do it, too—a shrinking combat region that pushes all the players closer together for a final showdown can only add more energy to the game's PvP options.—Samuel Roberts 

Dear Esther

You linger on the shore of a hebridean island and meditate upon the exact positioning of a stone. The narrator speaks poetically someone's childhood memories of riding buses in Islington. The story is inane but you detect an underlying note of tragedy in the narrator's delivery. As you look out on the infinite dark ocean sirens break the silence. "Proceed to a safe zone immediately or face obliteration," says the narrator. You amble very slowly up a gentle walkway in an attempt to scale the cliff face and move inland, and realise with horror that there is no run button. The shriek of the sirens is overrun by the drone plane engines. The attack planes are coming. “Why can’t I go faster!?” you scream at the monitor. “I just want to listen to a bit of poetry and some nice music!” Dear Esther battle royale does not care what you want. Heavy machine gun fire tears into the beach. The end is here.—Tom Senior

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.