2023 games: Upcoming releases
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Best MMOs: Massive worlds
Best RPGs: Grand adventures
Battle royale games have grown from a collection of niche mods to one of the biggest genres in all of gaming. Blockbusters like Fortnite and PUBG have been joined by Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and dozens of other battle royale games over the past several years, catapulting the genre into the mainstream.
The formula is easy to understand: a large groups of players, from dozens to over a hundred, enter a map and fight to be the last player (or squad) standing. The safe zone of the map typically grows smaller during the match, forcing the players into combat with each other. As battle royale has expanded, many games have introduced their own twists, like hero powers, magic spells, and the ability to revive fallen teammates.
Here are the best battle royale games you should be playing in 2022.
Release date: 2019| Developer: Respawn | Steam (opens in new tab), Origin (opens in new tab)
Apex Legends combines a hero squad shooter with the last-man-standing formula, with novel systems that allow great mic-less communication (important if you're playing with strangers in your squad) and the respawning of dead teammates. Respawn continued its tradition from the Titanfall series of excellent player movement and exciting weapons, and the roster of heroes has grown since launch. New maps, modes, and seasonal events have been added as well. In our opinion, battle royale has never been better.
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Epic Games | Epic Games Store (opens in new tab)
Epic Games isn't shy about experimenting with wacky modes like 50v50, making frequent and sometimes mysterious changes to its map, or by adding, of all things, airplanes and Marvel superheroes. Surprisingly, it even now includes a no-build mode, removing the very thing that catapulted it to becoming one of the most popular games of all time. We don't expect the surprising, game-changing experiments to stop anytime soon.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Release date: 2020| Developer: Infinity Ward| Battlenet (opens in new tab)
It's an amazingly successful translation of Call of Duty's famous close-quarters combat into a massive battle royale with 150 players. Warzone trims down the often tedious looting systems of battle royale and focuses more on shooting skills, and ditches backpacks in favor of loadouts. It's also got a neat twist on the battle royale formula with The Gulag, a 1-on-1 fighting pit where dead players compete for a second chance to drop back on the map with their team.
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Proletariat | Steam (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab)
No guns here, but plenty of fireballs, electrical bolts, and toxic fumes. Spellbreak stands out from other battle royale games by using magic instead of the usual rifles and shotguns. Players choose a character class, mix and match spells, and equip enchanted gear to take out their opponents in this creative and colorful mage-based battle royale. The art and effects are beautiful as you hurl spells at opponents and combine their effects for devastating attacks.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt
Release date: 2022 | Developer: Sharkmob | Steam (opens in new tab)
How can you freshen up the battle royale genre in 2022? How about by adding 45 vampires? Movement powers let you vanish in a cloud of smoke or slither up walls, and you can replenish your health or gain other buffs by drinking the blood of NPC civilians. And don't worry, these vampires still have plenty of tradition weapons. The punchy gunplay mixes well with powers like force pushes and invisibility. Happy hunting.
Release date: 2017| Developer: PUBG Corp | Steam (opens in new tab)
PUBG quickly overshadowed the (then) popular battle royale game H1Z1 in 2017 and became the battle royale game to beat, and it still draws hundreds of thousands of players daily. First-person-only servers were added recently for players who prefer a more realistic experience, and you can expect new modes, weapons, vehicles, and even more maps to keep being added as they have since it was released.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Mediatonic | Steam (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab)
Less like the head-to-head violence we've come to expect from battle royale games and more like the physical humor of Gang Beasts meets Ninja Warrior. 60 players compete through 5 obstacle-filled rounds until there's only one left. It's lots of fun and super cute, too. It originated on Steam but is becoming free to play on the Epic Games store in June.
Release date: 2021| Developer: 24 Entertainment| Steam (opens in new tab)
A martial arts battle royale feels like a fresh and much-needed twist on the genre. 60 players, all armed with grappling hooks, clash in melee combat using swords, spears, fists, and sometimes a massive chainsaw. The animations are fast and weightless, the movement is frenetic and fluid, and unlike just about every other battle royale out there, the character creation tools are top notch.
Super Animal Royale
Release date: 2021 | Developer: Pixile | Steam (opens in new tab)
Don't let their looks fool you: these adorable woodland critters are ruthless. 64 animals drop onto the map from the back of a giant duck and go to war. There are traditional weapons like guns and grenades but also silly ones like giant hamster balls. As you play you collect new animal breeds and cosmetics to use in future matches. A great game for battle royale newcomers, because while the matches can get plenty tense, it's still a fun and casual experience. Cute, too!