With Fortnite, PUBG, and roughly a hundred other battle royale games on the market, where is the genre headed? How about into a different genre altogether? A game released today called Battle Royale Simulator (I'm capitalizing it even if the developer doesn't) puts you in charge of a battle royale match in an overseer role. You select the parameters of a match, like how many players are in it, how much loot they'll be able to find, and their skill level, then watch them battle it out. Well, sort of.
The first thing I notice: there's no lobby for simulated players to run around in punching each other and chanting racial slurs while they wait for the match to begin, so already the simulation is a bit unrealistic. The little island map is very cute, though, laid out before you with a town, some trees, a military base, and so on. As the match begins, a tiny plane will fly slowly over the island. You have to click the mouse button for each player to jump out of the plane, which is a horrible realization when, like me, you've chosen to have 600 simulated players in the match. That's a lot of clicking.
I do manage to click my mouse 600 times, and there's a lot of confusing chaos. I guess the players are all killing each other, it's just hard to see because the sims are very small and each has an info pane over their head showing their health and stats which obscures just about everything. Best to stick with 100 players or less, I think.
Once everyone has landed, you can choose the center of the first closing circle, and as the match goes on you can place smaller and smaller circles. You can also send in airdrops for armor and health, and once you've played a few rounds and leveled up you can also choose to airstrike certain areas (like PUBG's red zone).
Apart from that, you basically just move your camera around the map and watch tiny players kill each other, or more typically, not kill each other because they're really bad at battle royale games. I guess they're not much room to fit AI into their tiny heads, because these sims are not too smart. I watch as one stands motionless near the closing circle, then finally runs through it in the wrong direction. Others run right past each other, then stop for long moments, then finally open fire in sort of each other's general directions.
They do occasionally hit each other, and their health bars do show them taking damage when they're outside the safe zone, so points for that. It's just not exactly gripping. Here's the end of a round when two players are left, standing very close to one another:
Less than thrilling. In a way it's a bit like watching a battle royale tournament broadcast: the only difference here is there's no shoutcaster strenuously insisting that someone camping for several minutes is really exciting to watch and requires non-stop commentary.
The little players don't even seem to really, technically, do any looting. I watched one sim run near a building and then just stand next to it for a while. I've made several airdrops but they don't seem to draw a crowd of players over. At least bombarding the hapless little players with airstrikes is kinda fun.
I do like the little map, and there's something cool about watching the circles close in, and quite honestly this would be the ideal way to spectate a real battle royale tournament, where you could fly your camera around at will and zoom in on anything that catches your interest. I just wish there was more of interest going on here.
If there was a bit more of a simulation in Battle Royale Simulator, or if the sims showed some sort of skill or awareness or, well, anything at all, it could actually be kind of enjoyable. Maybe I'll pin my hopes on Battle Royale Tycoon, which is coming out later this year.