The survival game spotlight first shifted to H1Z1's battle royale, until it was completely stolen by PUBG. It was inevitable, battle royales are casual and simple with action-packed gameplay enjoyable for everyone to play and watch. However, it seems that time is starting to take its toll.
Observations I've made that give credence to the declining popularity of BRs are the underwhelming Twitch viewership and complete lack of interest from my friends. While Fortnite, Apex, Warzone, and PUBG have unique gameplay, they're still fundamentally the same repetitive game.
As more players grow tired of the formula, naturally they will desire change. Devs band-aid this by adding content, it doesn't solve the root issues. This is why I believe survival games might make a comeback in the upcoming years. Rust type games are playable for thousands of hours, BR players will be relatively familiar with the mechanics, kills and looting are 10x more satisfying, and something as simple as base building + raiding adds the perfect amount of depth.
Despite my optimism, survival games are still one of the hardest games to get right, along with MMOs. All of these survival games are plagued with issues, but Rust Legacy is the only one that perfected the most important pitfalls and was thriving on release. Unfortunately, rampant cheaters caused most of the player base to quit early. The remaining players gradually left because of networking, barebones content (by 2020 standards), exploits, and the devs making a new Rust
Conan Exiles, DayZ, Arma 2: Overpoch, Arma 3: Exile, Escape from Tarkov, Ark: Survival Evolved, Miscreated, SCUM, H1Z1: Just Survive, Unturned, Rust (Legacy), Rust, DayZ Standalone, 7 Days To Die, Last Oasis, Reign of Kings
Main gameplay concerns:
Only a few of these games reach 144+ FPS, which is not acceptable anymore for new releases on Unreal Engine, since Fortnite and Last Oasis run great. Networking has to be decent and anti-cheat has to be great. Equally useful yet overlooked features are helpful admin tools and a replay system on a community server with active staff. Gunplay, armor, and healing have to be balanced. Gunplay should be skill based. If the game's too grindy, groups will get too big, there will be less pvp, and new players will be discouraged. Movement shouldn't feel clunky. Limited clothing and artificial sickness to metagate large groups. Offline raid phone notifications. In game events with loot to encourage PvP.
In conclusion, I'm anticipating a resurgence in survival game development with the steadily declining popularity of battle royales, but it's highly unlikely all the pitfalls will be avoided.
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