The “Battle Royale” that inspired them all

The “Battle Royale” that inspired them all

Max Wagner, Columnist

The battle royale mode in gaming has exploded as of late with games like H1Z1, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, and Fortnite. The gamemode is simple, you parachute onto an enormous map where you then have to collect supplies and weapons and outlast your opponents to be the last one standing. That usually consists of 100 people, all salivating at the chance to be the lone survivor.

Lately the fight to be the the top battle royale style game has been a two man race with Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground dwarfing their competition. Both games are usually in the top five watched games on Twitch with Fortnite growing in popularity at a extremely fast rate.

Fortnite has really taken a step above PlayerUnknown’s Battleground within the past couple of months, with a concurrent player base of nearly 4 million people. Fortnite is a colorful and beautiful looking game that combines fort building and 3rd person battle royale style shooting scenarios. The gameplay is very smooth but the accuracy of it’s weapons can be very unpredictable at points. Fortinte has managed to stay fairly balanced, allowing players to experience an even type of gameplay that focuses more on the players skill and less on random luck.

The fast style of gameplay that Fortnite provides gives each player the feeling of, “just one more game,” without feeling bogged down after losing a match that you’ve invested nearly an hour into. This battle royale game mode seems to be a staple for gaming in the future with developers all around the world trying to create the next battle royale phenomenon.

But, what many people don’t realize is that the idea of battle royale didn’t start in gaming, It was popularized by the 2000 Japanese Film “Battle Royale” directed by Kinji Fukasaku.

In a world where the population is through the roof and school-aged kids have no respect for their elders, the government passes the Battle Royale Act, forcing students to compete for their lives in a battle royale to the death.

This film consists of some wonderful teen actors that really convey a sense of hysteria and fear. In other films that deal with largely teenage casts, many of the actors fail to stand out and perform well, but in this film each actor proves that they are professionals. Tatsuya Fujiwara and Aki Maeda stand out as the leads in the film and provide an anchor to hold onto throughout. The large cast blends together perfectly with the leads getting a majority of the time and each subsequent student getting either an important or gruesomely epic scene of their own.

We are given a bit of backstory for most of the characters which allows the viewer to genuinely care about them. This is something a lot of films have missed in recent years. One example being Justice League. We care about Wonder Woman, and I guess a bit about Batman and Superman, but it’s hard to care about the rest of the league because unless you know them from the comics, we know nothing about them from the film.

Another aspect that is nearly perfect in this film is it’s use of the hard R-rating it flaunts. A film like The Hunger Games, which has its own type of battle royale, cant feature the real-life gore and anguish due to its pg-13 rating, while Battle Royale doesn’t hold back. It’s use of practical effects are expertly showcased with each grotesque elimination. This film is a classic for fans of horror and gore.

This film masterfully captures the immense range of human emotions through each characters decisions. Some characters refuse to take part in the killing of their classmates, so they either cower in fear or end their suffering in a more immediate way. Others have their deepest fantasies rise to the surface and enjoy torturing and murdering their former friends. Some become heroes and others lose their minds. The range of emotions this film explores, in its just over two-hour runtime, is something that should be taught in psychology classes.

This film is a classic in both the Japanese film industry and the rest of the world. It’s a good introduction to Japanese film for those who don’t mind a bloody horror fest.

I can’t say that a great game like Fortnite and other battle royale games like PUBG and H1Z1 wouldn’t exist without their film based predecessor, but there is certainly inspiration taken from this classic film. You may not have claimed “Winner winner chicken dinner” if not for Battle Royale.