The current madness over battle royale games like PUBG and Fortnite can only last so long. Where might the next big fad in gaming come from? What’s the next break out hit in gaming? Of course if we really knew, we’d be billionaires. Here’s some of our correspondent’s best guesses.
Refinements to the BR Formula
Of course, we will likely see refinements to the battle royale genre for some time to come, especially before we see any brand new fads. For example, team-based death match with permadeath might be an easy game mode to tack on to the existing battle royale game structure. Large player-versus-enemy (PvE) modes could crop up in existing games, allowing for team-based play within the general battle royale structure. We also might see other genres attach themselves to the battle royale game mode, with something like Assassin’s Creed creating a Grand Theft Auto-style multiplayer sandbox and mission area where the last one standing wins.
Single-Player Story-Driven Games
Games like God of War and Witcher 3 have immense fan bases. While they’ve never reached the level of faddish adoption, consistent sales show a strong appetite for story-rich single-player games within the gaming market. We could see this as a response to the trend of “everything multiplayer, all the time” that has been pushed since the Xbox 360 was launched. While multiplayer games will always have their place, it would not be surprising to see some backlash against the overwhelming pressure to play with friends.
Class-based FPS Games
Arena shooters like Unreal Tournament were huge at the dawn of PC gaming. And as everything old becomes new again, it wouldn’t be shocking to see an arena shooter pop up in the form of a class-based or “hero shooter” FPS game. Something like a combination of Overwatch and Unreal, with large-scale battles using heroes with specific skills and attributes.
Similar to battle royale games, but with more team-focused competitions. Where class-based FPS games like Overwatch have a high skill ceiling, a more casual FPS would cater to players without the time or interest to practice and improve their skills. While it might have the trappings of a game like Call of Duty or Battlefield, we’d see more of a “get in, get out” structure allowing for play on mobile devices. A successor in this genre would be exciting to play and squad friendly. We could also see a more complex, less casual version of this idea, in which team objectives are the goal instead of simple survival.
A New Breed of MMOs
If you recall the early days of World of Warcraft, you remember how incredible that game’s success was. People were deeply addicted in sometimes tragic ways, blaming job losses and relationship damage on their inability to stop playing the game. That speaks to an enduring connection to a game style that could once again become ascendant. Refinements of the World of Warcraft formula could again rise to popularity. Consider Rare’s success with Sea of Thieves, where player-versus-player gameplay exists alongside team-based treasure hunting questions. With more of a sandbox structure, players could create dynamic and emergent worlds together, whether cooperating or battling each other.
League of Legends and DOTA have endured for what seems like centuries, consistently remaining popular with serious gamers. Even as these games gained a reputation for toxicity and difficulty, player counts have increased and streamers have become more successful. Could a game that encouraged more cooperative team play be the MOBA for the masses? It’s not really feasible to just “pick up” a game like LoL or DOTA, both of which require significant skill and practice, as well as deep game knowledge, just to be barely competent. A streamlined game aping the style of existing MOBAs might be appealing to the masses.
Predicting the future is hard. Who knows what exactly will come next? But we can anticipate it will likely have certain features, like multiplayer gameplay, team-based options, and mobile playability. Those are the formula for the success we’ve seen in past faddish games, and we’d expect to see that endure in the future.