Undoubtedly, the biggest gaming genre that has emerged over the last year is that of the Battle Royale games.
Based on the 1999 Japanese novel Battle Royale, these games see players enter a battlefield and fight to be the last one standing – in its basic format, that is.
Even though H1Z1 was the first to hit the digital shelves, it sat stagnant in its early access since February 2016, allowing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to muscle into the field and become the first big name of the emerging genre. Then, in September 2017, six months after PUBG was released, Fortnite: Battle Royale was released, and the two have been competing for the massive audience ever since.
While Battle Royale games are quite a unique case given that the genre is emerging, they certainly have us reminiscing about the other great games that inspired spin-offs and rip-offs.
As can be seen across film, television, and gaming, many spin-offs fail to garner the same appraisal as the originals. But, now and then, a spin-off is as good as the original, and sometimes even better. In gaming, it’s often down to offering a different way to play but with all of the best aspects of the original thrown in.
Some spin-offs diverge hugely from the originals and make incredibly popular new games. One of the biggest games in the world is a spin-off like this. World of Warcraft derives from Warcraft, which was a real-time strategy game. But they took that theme and forged it into an immensely popular MMORPG. Then there’s the likes of Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword and Hugo 2, which switched from early console games to browser-based slot games to give fans the chance to play slots online in the UK from the comfort of your own home. While catering to perhaps a different audience, this type of spin-off can still be pretty popular.
Then come the spin-off games that, on the surface, don’t differ from the originals by a huge amount, but do offer a different way to play that ended up being even more popular than the originals. One such example is Forza Horizon. Spawning from the Xbox car racing series Forza, Horizon added an open world, missions, storyline, and more multiplayer aspects. Or you could see Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which was still a fighting game like Tekken but allowed for players to select from massive rosters and battle with two at a time.
Sometimes, rip-offs work
Two of the biggest rip-offs of all time became among the most popular games of their respective generations. Created by General Computer Corporation, Ms Pac-Man has been branded an “elaborate enhancement” of Pac-Man and was a huge hit at the time of its release. Another more recent example is the game that everyone has either played or seen played on a mobile device: Angry Birds.
Those who can remember the days of going online to play simple browser games – often during class – may remember a certain game by the name of Crush the Castle. In the Flash game, you throw medium rocks, large rocks, splitting rocks, and bombs to defeat a castle. In Angry Birds, you throw medium birds, large birds, splitting birds, and bomb birds to defeat a fort of pigs. Nevertheless, these alleged rip-offs proved to be very popular.
A game that is less a rip-off and more inspired by a great game is Valve’s upcoming card game Artifact. Based on the Valve’s DOTA 2, the game has garnered comparisons to Blizzard’s Hearthstone, but what Valve has created has taken a different approach to create a rather complex game.
While many spinoffs and rip-offs fail to impress, now and then, incredibly popular ones emerge to give fans a new way to play their favourite games.