The Rise of Battle Royale
Not since Call of Duty 4 has the shooter genre seen a changeup like the one delivered by PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. This title is part of a growing sub-genre of "battle royale" shooters, which feature large, elimination-style, multiplayer matches and survival mechanics that require you to scavenge for supplies.
Battlegrounds is still growing in popularity and will be coming to Xbox One later this year, but it's not the only example of the genre out there. If you're seeking more Battlegrounds-style action on either console or PC, here are the best battle-royale games you can play right now.
Fortnite Battle Royale (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Fortnite Battle Royale is a free-to-play standalone addition to Fortnite. It has all of the usual battle-royale trappings that include 100 players air-dropping onto an island and scrounging for gear within a shrinking play zone. But this time you also have access to Fortnite’s crafting system, which lets you construct walls, ramps, stairs, and roofs out of various materials.
Weapons include the usual assortment of assault rifles, shotguns, and snipers, and items include shield potions for extra durability and bandages for healing. Fortnite Battle Royale is one of the most polished PUBG alternatives out there, and it's free on both consoles and PC.
Grand Theft Auto V: Smuggler's Run (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Smuggler's Run is a free addition to Grand Theft Auto V's already-packed online experience, and one of its key new modes is Motor Wars. In this mode, four teams of five players each parachute out of a plane into a section of the Grand Theft Auto V map, which, like Battlegrounds, features a slowly shrinking safe zone that you'll have to be mindful of while you fight.
If you're looking for something to emulate the Battlegrounds experience on consoles or simply want to play a battle-royale game with GTA V's high production value, Motor Wars will scratch that itch.
Credit: Rockstar North/Rockstar Games
Last Man Standing (PC)
Last Man Standing lacks the visual flair of other games on this list, but you can't beat its price. In this survival shooter, the danger zone tightens toward the center of a relatively small map, and damage increases the farther you are from the safe zone. It's a third-person game, which can make a big difference in how you approach combat around corners and in tight enclosures.
If you're curious about battle-royale games, Last Man Standing is a good way to give the genre a test run without dropping any cash.
Credit: Free Reign Entertainment
ARK: Survival of the Fittest (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
ARK: Survival of the Fittest is a free addition that was added to ARK: Survival Evolved before the game left Early Access. It takes the open-world survival mechanics of Survival Evolved and adds the requisite encroaching danger zone to force player confrontation. Valuable caches of weapons and armor are located in the open at the center of the map for teams to claim, but the big twist is the presence dinosaurs that can be tamed or harvested to help you win.
Credit: Studio Wildcard
Rust (PC, Mac)
At its core, Rust is a first-person, multiplayer, wilderness survival game similar in many ways to ARK: Survival Evolved, but without all the dinosaurs. Rust has had modified battle-royale servers for several years now, but the rules of the game are a little different than those of Battlegrounds.
You don't parachute onto the map. Instead, everyone wakes up along the perimeter with minimal equipment. Weapons and armor are located in buildings found farther toward the center, and eventually a ring will form along the perimeter that damages players. The ring will tighten toward the exact center of the map over time, rather than toward a random area.
Credit: Facepunch Studios
H1Z1: King of the Kill (PC)
H1Z1: King of the Kill is a multiplayer, third-person shooter that offers several gameplay modes, including one outright titled Battle Royale. This mode features the standard rule-set of landing on a map that has a shrinking play area. H1Z1 retains the crafting mechanics from its roots as a zombie survival game, so you'll find components that you use to craft healing items and other essentials as you play. With the inclusion of standard death-match game modes, H1Z1 has a lot of meat on its bones for just 20 bucks.
Credit: Daybreak Game Company
The Culling (March 2016; PC, Xbox One)
The Culling is a battle-royale, first-person shooter that tries to provide a story explaining why a bunch of people are airdropping into an area and killing each other. Players are contestants in a survival game, much like "The Hunger Games," and are competing for points earned in the middle of a match. Environmental hazards and a deep selection of equipment are some of the things that set this game apart from other battle-royale titles.
Points are used to help your character specialize in certain areas, such as melee or ranged combat. Character customization is also robust, with many outfits to choose from. Matches are smaller compared to other battle royale titles, maxing out at 16 players and team sizes no larger than two.
Credit: Xavient Games
DayZ is the stand-alone version of the DayZ mod for ARMA 2 and is the predecessor of the battle-royale genre. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was originally an offshoot built upon this mod.
In DayZ, players spawn in random locations on a large island populated with roaming zombies and other players whom you can cooperate with or compete against in an effort to survive. Players can re-spawn on the map if they die, and there are no danger zones to herd players together. Despite these differences from other titles, the hills of Chernarus are where battle-royale games truly got their start.
Credit: Bohemia Interactive