Although it may have been published in 1924 Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game has influenced everything from Stephen King’s The Running Man to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games and Fukasaku’s Battle Royale.
In the short story, big-game hunter Sanger Rainsford ends up on a remote island after he falls off his yacht in an area known for its ship wrecks. The entire island is owned by another big-game hunter: General Zaroff. Hunting animals now bores Zaroff so he rescues shipwrecked sailors and hunts them instead. If the prey manages to survive for three days in the jungle Zaroff sets them free. Rainsford is given some supplies and a three-hour head start as the hunter becomes the prey.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is 2017’s Most Dangerous Game but on a very massive scale. Now available on the Xbox One, Battlegrounds is a mammoth online battle royale in which there can be only one winner.
Up to one hundred players parachute onto a remote island where they search for supplies and weapons. Supplies range from first aid kits, ammunition to bulletproof vests and the weapons found are your standard pistols, rifles and shotguns. There are also abandoned and operational vehicles kicking around as well.
The goal is to arm yourself and kill as many of the other players as you can. The last player or team standing wins the game and currency to purchase customizable options.
The wrench in all of this is that the playable area shrinks and shrinks reducing the size of the battleground and places to strategically hide or lie in wait for your prey. Also, random regions of the map are bombed from above from time to time causing more panic and chaos.
The only real drawback of Battlegrounds, is like most multiplayer combat games, there are players who camp and those who don’t engage other players directly. The shrinking battleground though takes care of that to a great degree forcing those players to abandon their nests and become mobile, at least for a time.
There would also be more of incentive to play if the currency could be used to better your player or character rather than cosmetic upgrades such as purchasing new clothes or a cooler haircut.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a what you see is what you get kind of deal. It is a simple game without many bells, whistles and sometimes it is that simplicity that can be the hook that draws games in. The mainstream sensation that is Overwatch proved that. Both Overwatch and Battlegrounds are straightforward concepts that just work so well time and time again. They never get old as their experiences are fluid and that makes each session different from the last.