Horses are irresistible deathtraps in Mordhau battle royale

Back when I first got a demo of PUBG's desert map in 2017, I asked Brendan Greene if he planned to add horses to the mix alongside motorcycles. It seemed to fit the theme of the Western-style landscape and battle royale on horseback felt like an intriguing and untapped premise. At the time Greene gave me a noncommital answer along the line of 'anything is possible', but horses never appeared in PUBG and my fervent desires for horsie royale went unanswered.

Mordhau, the medieval multiplayer brawler, has a 64-player battle royale mode, and it's also got horses. Finally! (Well, mostly finally—Realm Royale actually has horses too, but I've never played it.) And unlike vehicles in most battle royale games, there aren't dozens of horses scattered all over the map. The most horses I've seen in Mordhau's 64-player battle royale at once has been two.

And those horses got me killed every damn time.

It's not strictly the horses' faults. Yes, they're pretty tricky to steer, and if you have a lance or polearm it's also tricky to accurately aim at a moving player while awkwardly navigating the small and cluttered map on horseback. Even in the tutorial, it's not easy hitting motionless target dummies.

And if you steer your horse into a tree or a doorway or some logs or—and I'm ashamed to admit this—the entire side of a castle, the horse will rear up or get stuck or stop, leaving you exposed to the player who easily sidestepped your slow and obvious charge.

But that's not even the main thing that keeps getting me killed. I die because I spawn into the match knowing there are a couple horses on the map, and all I want to do is ride them, and so when I see one I make a beeline for it. If I spot a horse before I even have a weapon I will run straight for the horse because I want to get it before anyone else does.

I'm drawn to Mordhau's horses like a moth to a flame or a fly to honey or an idiot to a horse.

The same is true even if I spot a horse with someone already on it. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like very few players actually want to fight while on horseback (probably due to the steering issues I mentioned), and having learned they prefer to get off their horses, leaving that tantalizing saddle empty, I wind up in even more trouble. In the gif above you can see a guy on a horse with a shield and a sword, and when he spots me approaching he dismounts to fight me on foot. Ha ha, fool! Your beautiful horse is now mine!

Of course, his horse is only mine for the briefest of moments as I clamber into the saddle because he stabs me right in the back.

I've been killed three times now while climbing onto a horse, twice while running toward a horse, twice while on a horse, and once after getting off a horse because I got on the horse before I got a weapon leaving me incapable of stabbing anyone while I was on the horse.

And, yes, once after riding a horse directly into the side of a castle.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.