There's no doubt that battle royale is currently the most popular genre in the video game industry. Over the past few years almost every major multiplayer game has incorporated a mode where around a hundred players land in an area, scavenge for weapons, and proceed to kill each other. This trend kicked off a few years ago with a rather janky game called PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
It went on to inspire heavyweights like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone, each of which put its own spin on the genre. However, PUBG developer Krafton isn't all too pleased with some of the games it has inspired – namely Garena Free Fire – against which it has filed a lawsuit. The basic claim of this lawsuit is that Garena's battle royale is too similar to Krafton's.
As spotted by The Verge, the lawsuit states: "Free Fire and Free Fire Max extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds, both individually and in combination, including Battlegrounds’ copyrighted unique game opening “air drop” feature, the game structure and play, the combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations, and the overall choice of color schemes, materials, and textures."
The lawsuit document proceeds to point out visual and functional similarities between the two games, mentioning things like the pre-game lobby area, parachuting to the map via airplane, the process of acquiring equipment and mods, and even the famed frying pan.
Besides asking Garena to “immediately stop its exploitation of Free Fire and Free Fire Max,” Krafton requested Apple and Google to remove the games from their storefronts. None of the parties have complied with Krafton's request, resulting in this massive lawsuit. It also asked YouTube to remove videos featuring Garena's games.
Before this lawsuit, it seemed like the developers of these battle royals were existing in harmony, each content with their slice of the pie. Perhaps it's the recent revelation that along with Krafton's PUBG, Garena Free Fire was one of eight mobile games that earned over a billion dollars in 2021. The two were the only modern battle royale games on the list, and maybe Krafton wasn't too pleased that its competition was on the same list with a game that resembled its own.
Invincible "creator" Robert Kirkman has allegedly done this sort of thing before.