A Battle Royale is defined as numerous characters fighting each other until only one remains victorious. The concept is as old as time and has been depicted in various media through the years, with the Japanese novel Battle Royale becoming the Trope Namer.
In the late 2010's, however, this concept became the biggest new video game craze to hit the industry due to the shift it made to Competitive Multiplayer. Inspired by the film adaptation of the aforementioned Battle Royale, it started as a mod in ARMA, but the concept expanded into other games, and by 2017, became the dominant trend in video games thanks to the overwhelming popularity of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which itself was quickly surpassed by Fortnite.
Modern battles royale usually work by a specific formula:
- Players, usually reaching 50 or 100 mark, can form a squad of two to four, or play "solo" where everyone else is hostile.
- Players start off with almost nothing but the clothes on their back.
- Players start in either an airborne transportation and have to skydive and parachute to the wide-open area (most common), or start in a randomly-determined area (less common).
- Players have to find weaponry and medical aid items to keep themselves alive.
- The match itself is regulated with a time limit that will eventually guarantee a victor. The time limit is usually an Advancing Wall of Doom in the form of an enclosing circle of fire, energy, electricity, deadly fog, or what have you.
A similar variation is the Last Man Standing or Last Team Standing mode. Players generally have a limited number of lives rather than a time limit, and players usually start with a predetermined selection of equipment to use. Once you're out of lives, you're limited to just spectating for the rest of the match.
The Battle Royale genre has its roots in one of the earliest multiplayer modes, the Death Match, where the winning condition are the same - be the last one standing. However Death Match games, being from the infancy of multiplayer network gaming, are much simpler and do not have all the mentioned features, starting players off with a default weapon and armor and at a predetermined spawn point instead of allowing players to choose their starting point by means of parachuting out of an airborne transport and starting them off unarmed and vulnerable. Lastly, there is usually no advancing wall of doom mechanic or time limit, the game round only ends when there's only one player left - in practice, this was not a problem as the player count would usually be quite low (Doom, the game that introduced the concept of death matches to the world, had a maximum headcount of 4), largely due to the limitation of computing power of servers and the low network speeds back in the days.
This is the video game equivalent and subtrope of Deadly Game (where the victor is the last one alive.) Compare with Mêlée à Trois (in which three or more factions or individuals are locked in a battle with no predetermined alliances). Related to Survival Sandbox.
- Agar.io, being the original and the oldest .io Game, added a shrinking circle mode in 2018, while changing little else about its iconic gameplay.
- Apex Legends is set in the Titanfall universe bringing elements of the Hero Shooter with 60 players divided into squads of three characters known as Legends, each of which have unique abilities. Players also have access to Le Parkour abilities, although they are scaled back from the Titanfall games for reasons of balance.
- ARMA's community ended up modding in the first known example of the Battle Royale in video games. Players had to find their equipment, but had to deal with an encroaching circle of radioactive fog.
- Ashes of Creation Apocalypse, being the prequel to an MMORPG, has fantasy-themed combat where the last player of team standing gets to escape from the collapsing world of Verra.
- Battlefield V has "Firestorm". Players must find World War II-era weapons and equipment to survive before they're engulfed in the encroaching firestorm. Aside from the WW2 setting, Battlefield in general allows for fully destructible buildings and plenty of vehicles such as tanks to give you the advantage.
- Battlerite Royale is played from a top-down perspective and allows the player to choose from multiple characters with different abilities. Players start with their basic attack and Ultimate ability (which cannot be used until you obtain energy), and must unlock their five remaining abilities by finding them in Loot Orbs, buying them from vendors scattered across the map, or taking them from dead players. There are also equipped and consumable items.
- BattleRoyale.io takes place on a space station on Jupiter's moon Io. Players hack terminals and open crates to gather weapons to battle each other as the station gets slowly flooded with poisonous gas, and while often having to fend off insectoid aliens as well.
- In 2016, a mobile game adaptation of Btooom!, Btooom Online, was likely the first commercial game fully utilizing the battle royale principles, since its own source material was inspired by the Battle Royale novel. However, it failed to get traction even inside Japan.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 features the "Blackout" mode. In what is easily the largest map in all of COD history, players find themselves traveling through familar locations like Nuketown and Verruckt. On top of finding weapons and armor to defend themselves, players have access to numerous military vehicles like helicopters. Some areas even feature zombies that can drop equipment when killed.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) added a free-to-play battle royale mode called Call of Duty: Warzone on March 10th, 2020, which operates in a manner similar to Apex Legends, with three-man squads that can revive one another if downed. If you die, you are sent to a "gulag" and have a chance to respawn by defeating one other dead player in a shooting duel, and you can also purchase revive kits with in-game currency in stores located in the arena.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive added a Battle Royale mode by the end of 2018 called the "Danger Zone". In "Danger Zone", one can collect money from boxes or completing objectives such as rescuing hostages, which then it can be used to request weapon delivery based on the accumulated money, and in team of two, can respawn as long as the other team member alive. Instead of an encroaching circle acting as a time limit to finish the match, the game map was split into several hexagonal tiles, with certain areas of the tiles being "shut off" as the match continued.
- The Culling entered Steam's Early Access program in 2016, well before the release of Trope Codifier PUBG and was differentiated from the games that would follow it by a Deadly Game Show theme and a focus on melee combat and traps. The 2018 sequel The Culling 2 became a notorious Short Runner after it failed to find an audience. It released on July 10, 2018, and was shut down not even 2 weeks later. Servers for the original game were shut down in May of 2019.
- Cuisine Royale is a 3D battle royale conducted entirely with modern kitchen implements that was originally designed as an April Fool's joke around the Frying Pan of Doom controversy in Player Unknowns Battlegrounds and Fortnite note . It became a full-blown free-to-play game after the initial positive reception.
- Darwin Project features a unique take on the genre in which ten players armed with a melee weapon and a bow have to craft arrows to battle one another while also crafting fires and seeking out shelter to survive the snowy environment. Complicating things is the Show Director, another player serving as a sort of Game Master, able to influence the match by sharing information to players, spawning items and powerups, and control which zones of the map are disabled to force players into conflict, all with the aim of making the match as interesting for themselves and the participants as possible.
- Devast.io is a Post Apocalyptic survival game in an irradiated and ghoul-filled landscape, and it features a battle royale mode in addition to the main game.
- The Division has a Downloadable Content game mode called "Survival", which deviates a bit from standard battle royale fare. Instead of having a shrinking playable area, players have a limited lifespan due to an injury that infects them with sepsis, although said lifespan can be increased by looting and using antibiotics or syringes. The objective also isn't to be the last one standing; instead, players are required to infiltrate the Dark Zone and extract themselves (plus a box of antivirals as an optional objective) via helicopter to safety. To prevent players from just simply sneaking their way to victory, clothing must be looted to deal with below-freezing temperatures that get progressively worse the closer one is to the Dark Zone. The last major difference with "conventional" battle royales is extensive use of PVE elements, featuring enemy NPCs from the main campaign and a Wolf Pack Boss guarding Dark Zone helicopter landing pads as a gear check.
- Dragalia Lost introduced the Alberian Battle Royale in the Second Anniversary Update where In-Universe it takes place in Appolonia, a gladiator city where fighters battle for the audience and the dragon Apollo. It's a smaller scale battle arena with 16 players, though the usual tropes are there with a closing wall that gets smaller until one last player is remaining.
- Fallout 76 announced the "Nuclear Winter" expansion at E3 2019, which adds a Battle Royale mode. Vault 51 was designed to not have an Overseer looking after its residents. It has the unique social experiment that if anyone wants to become the Overseer, they need to be the last one alive to rightfully claim it. Players need to scavenge for armor, weapons, and supplies while dealing with both other players and the irradiated wildlife of Appalachia before being engulfed in a ring of fire.
- Fear The Wolves is a Battle Royale set in the snowy climate and where the titular wolves are as much of a danger as the fellow players. However, they can also be controlled by any player who wields the Alpha's heart.
- Foes.io is likely the first .io Game battle royale, and the only one so far to feature vehicles, even though it is limited to 30-player matches.
- Fortnite was originally designed as a single player Zombie Apocalypse survival game where you needed to build up defenses to hold off the Husks, but the developers saw the potential in a BR mode and shifted much of their team to work on that. The end result was an absolute juggernaut. Its Free-To-Play model combined with the cartoonish graphics, intuitive controls, smooth performance even on lower end hardware and consoles, and building mechanics quickly made it one of the most played, most streamed, and most viewed video games in 2017, 2018, and 2019. In addition to single player, the game features different modes such as forming up in team groups of 4, or setting 50 vs. 50 players.
- Forza Horizon 4 is a Racing Game example with The Eliminator (available since Update 17), which is a BR but instead of just 'killing' cars, you eliminate players by challenging them to a short face-off and winning it, with the option to keep your car, upgrade it or use the one from your foe. When 10 players remain, any face-offs are canceled and instead everyone races to a final race placed in a random point across the map: the first one to make it there wins.
- Free Fire, a smaller, more mobile alternative released before PUBG released their mobile versions. While Free Fire is highly popular (usually goes toe to toe with PUBG in Google Play's chart) in South East Asia and South America due to the lower system requirements, the game's more arcade-ish spins, different gun handling (where bullet spread is likelier the farther the gun shoots) and reliance on powerups and exclusive, time-limited skins with stat modifiers has made some player accuse it as an Allegedly Free Game that relies on Bribing Your Way to Victory.
- Islands Of Nyne is a fast-paced Battle Royale game that's centered around fast-paced 50-player matches using high-tech weapons and equipment. However, it ended up very short-lived, as it entered Early Access in mid-2018, only for the studio to cease development by the start of 2019 as they ran out of funds. While the servers are still around and the game became free to play at that point, few players are around and it is not expected to make a comeback.
- Knives Out by NetEase is one of the first PUBG Mobile clones, with 100-player lobbies landing on an island and battling to be the last team alive.
- Thelast.io is fantasy-themed battle royale game, where players jump off the back of the dragon onto an island, and fight each other with medieval-era melee and ranged weapons, along with a range of magic staves.
- Last Tide is the spin-off of Depth, being an underwater Battle Royale where divers fight each other while also having to fend off vicious sharks.
- Path of Exile, an Action RPG primarily played as Player Versus Environment retooled itself into this genre as a 2017 April Fools' Day joke, becoming Path of Exile: Royale temporarily. Winners were awarded "Rhoa dinners"note as trophies to display in their customizable Home Base.
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds became the Trope Codifier of the genre and found a sizable playerbase from the at the time novel premise of a large Wide Open Sandbox (PUBG's initial map, Erangel, is a fairly realistically modeled 8x8 km island) shooter and freeform large scale (up to 100 players to a match) combat on the harder side of the Fackler Scale of FPS Realism, showing its hereitage from ARMA mods, offering a large and varied arsenal of weapons, loads of Gun Accessories to stick onto them, and vehicles. It launched the Battle Royale genre into the limelight and made the world take notice, in spite of the Obvious Beta state it launched into on Steam's Early Access.
- The now-defunct Bosskey Production's Radical Heights was a last ditch attempt at keeping the studio alive after the commercial flop that was LawBreakers. Radical Heights existed in early access for only about a month before the studio — and the servers — shut down, but the game had the unique ideas of allowing players to earn money and deposit it into a bank, allowing them to take it out of an ATM to buy weapons in future matches. Instead of an encroaching circle acting as a time limit to finish the match, the game map was split into a square grid, with certain areas of the grid being "shut off" as the match continued.
- The cash-based mechanics and the square grid section eventually reused by Valve for Counter Strike: Global Offensive's Danger Zone mode, although the cash is only for current match.
- Realm Royale, a spin-off from Paladins, is a fantasy-themed 3D take on the genre, where players ride horses instead of motorcycles and fight with enchanted weapons, and also has a class system.
- Ring of Elysium is a natural-disaster survival game about killing other survivors to reserve your seat on the only (4-man) rescue helicopter in the area; it was initially developed as Tencent Games' alternative to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which Tencent also owns the free-to-play version of, but soon gained its own identity.
- Rules of Survival by NetEase has 120 or 300 players parachute onto an island where they gather weapons and fight to be the last surviving team.
- SOS (no relation to the Super Nintendo game SOS) was a short-lived game that relied on the spectating audience's participation to decide which players should receive air drops with boons, or get hindered instead.
- Spellbreak is a battle royale game with a magic twist: instead of using guns, players use enchanted gauntlets to cast elemental spells.
- Super Animal Royale is a 2D top-down take on the battle royale genre, where up to 64 players drop down on an island once used for an now-abandoned theme park and hunt each other down until only one Super Animal is left standing.
- Super Mario Bros. 35, similar to Tetris 99 below, pits 35 players against one another as they run through levels from the first Super Mario Bros. game. Enemies that players defeat are sent to other player's levels, and coins can be used to obtain a randomly selected power-up. In addition, players are on a time limit that can be extended by defeating enemies, clearing levels, or collecting Fire Flowers as Fire Mario. Successfully KO'ing an opponent earns players the victim's coins and remaining time.
- Surviv.io is another .io Game Battle Royale. About 80 players instantly spawn on a randomly-generated island (no waiting room or skydiving), search for items, and fight until only one remains while a "red zone" restricts the play area.
- Tetris 99 pits 99 players against each other. Clearing lines and racking up combos will send junk lines to a random player. The game tells you who you're sending junk to, and who's sending it your way. Sometimes the Random Number God will just say "screw you" and have multiple enemies send junk your way.
- Totally Accurate Battlegrounds is a comedic take on the genre from the developers of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, featuring the same sort of colourful noodle people and ragdoll physics as their other game.
- War Brokers has a Battle Royale mode where up to sixty players drop on a map and collect weapons, armor, and attachments. Players fight each other with a mixture of gunfights and Le Parkour.
- Watchers starts with players selecting where they start with a melee weapon and gather weapons and ammo. Dead players can stick around and become "watchers" who can spawn special events to influence the gameplay.
- In Zombs Royale.io, about a hundred players jump off a plane and fight for survival while a ring of poisonous gas restricts the playing area.
- The Bomberman series has often featured a robust multiplayer mode in which up to four players place bombs and collect level-ups to defeat the other players. Later installments would up the ante by allowing 8, sometimes 16 players to nuke and duke it out all at once. Most modern games feature a second chance to ruin the surviving players by letting defeated players toss bombs into the arena from the outside walls.
- Crash Bash: The Crate Crush, Polar Push, Ballistix and Tank Wars category of minigames are all about free-for-all match where you have to take down other opponents and be the last man standing. In Crate Crush and Tank Wars, you deplete opponent's HP; in Polar Push, you push your opponents out of the ring; and in Ballistix, you deplete opponents' points by knocking balls towards their goal.
- Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has 60 players competing in multiple events to avoid being eliminated, until the final round where only one player can win.
- Get Amped: The "Deathmatch" game mode has up to 8 players playing in a stage, trying to beat each other until there's the last man standing.
- Kirby Battle Royale: The "Battle Arena" game mode has up to 4 players in a free-for-all fight, where the last man standing wins. The twist here is that characters can revive themselves to half health if given enough time; the battle is only won when all but one combatants are down at around the same time.
- Many Minecraft servers have a fan-made game mode known as the "Hunger Games" (Or Survival Games, if they're not too fond of infringing on copyright) in which players spawn in an arena and have to gather weapons and other resources, all while fighting other players to be the last man standing. At the center of each map is a cornucopia filled with all sorts of goodies and equipment, and some servers even allow for the use of starting kits.
- OpenArena has the Elimination, CTF Elimination and Last Man Standing modes:
- Last Man Standing is regular Deathmatch split in shorter rounds where every player fights on their own in order to eradicate the rest of the players and be the last player on foot when the round ends.
- Elimination follows the same model and ruleset as LMS, but splits players in two teams, and each team fights to eradicate the enemy team.
- CTF Elimination follows the same model and ruleset as Elimination, but also adds the Capture the Flag flags, and thus rounds can also be won by capturing the enemy flag.
- Unreal Tournament 4 has the Showdown mode, where two teams pick their spawn points and start with the usual Impact Hammer+Enforcer loadout. Items spawn in maps in their usual locations, and once they're picked, they disappear until the next round. "Team Showdown" is the team-based equivalent.