Yesterday at Hi-Rez Expo 2018, free-to-play hero shooter Paladins: Champions of the Realm announced a new battle royale mode named Paladins: Battlegrounds. In the face of the rising trend, more games are adding similar modes to their makeup, however this one's name raised a few eyebrows—given how closely it reflects PUBG Corp's megahit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
Now, Hi-Rez Studios president Stew Chisam has explained why he and his team opted for 'Battlegrounds' over, say, battle royale, or a similar appendage.
In conversation with Pip on the expo show floor, Chisam suggested that the term better reflected MMO battlegrounds—such as WoW's Alterac Valley—than anything perhaps more obvious.
"We actually had a lot of conversations," says Chisam. "Do we call it Battle Royale, do we call it Battlegrounds, do we call it something else? We thought if we call it something completely out of the blue people might not know what it was, or if we call it Survival which we previously had [as a mode] people might think it was the previous version. But Battlegrounds—we actually settled on Battlegrounds because—I don't know if you got the same feeling when you played but when we got to actually playing the mode, you're in your four-person team with your classes, it felt like an MMO raid party.
"Then you're getting on these horses and you're galloping through this big fantasy landscape, right? For us it was more evocative of the old MMO battlegrounds. And so to us, choosing that name versus battle royale was more of an homage to those big MMO battleground-type settings."
Chisam also admits that opting for Battlegrounds is sure to "get a little bit of buzz" in the current climate, and that "no one will have too many doubts" about what kind of game mode Paladins: Battlegrounds offers.
He adds: "You have to remember that for us too it's just a game mode, like Siege or Conquest or whatever, so it's not really going to play a major role in the marketing of the overall game over the long haul… I think whether we call it battle royale, whether we call it Battlegrounds, whether we call it anything else, there was always going to be a little bit of—there's always going to be that one element. When you actually play the mode you see that it is quite different from the other modes."
Additional reporting by Philippa Warr.