Battle royale games have come a long way in eight years, growing from a collection of niche mods to one of the biggest genres in all of gaming. Blockbusters like Fortnite and PUBG have been joined by Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and dozens of other battle royale games over the past several years, catapulting the genre into the mainstream. Too many to count have entered the ring, but a scant few have reigned supreme.
Battle royale may be on its way out as the "trendy" genre to pursue (it seems for now that honor belongs to the BR offshoot, the extraction shooter), but it remains a fun and distinct way to compete on a massive scale. As battle royale has expanded, many games have introduced their own twists, like hero powers, magic spells, and the ability to revive fallen teammates.
Here are the best battle royale games you should be playing in 2023.
Respawn's popular battle royale is coming up on its fifth birthday, and of the battle royale games that have stuck around through the years, Apex Legends might be the most consistent. Years of updates have seen some large rule changes, like how shields are generated, and every season shifts weapons around a bit, but rarely has Respawn upended its core loop of outlasting, sharp aiming, and skillful mobility. Respawn continued its tradition from the Titanfall series of excellent player movement and exciting weapons, and the roster of heroes keeps on growing.
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Epic Games | Epic Games Store
No game is better at evolving with the times than Fortnite. Epic's battle royale sensation doesn't always make the headlines anymore, but for the millions still logging on daily, Fortnite's evolving sandbox of gadgets, weaponry and interactive map elements are still unmatched. It speaks to Fortnite's mallebality that one of the most popular ways to play the game these days is without any building whatsoever, or by sampling the vast community-made modes and maps.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Warzone has seen a lot of changes for only being around three years, but it feels like Activision is finally settling into a groove. After sunsetting the original Warzone in September, Warzone 2 lost its "2" and we're back to square one. Raven and Infinity Ward spent much of 2023 undoing unpopular changes to Warzone 2's guns and movement. It's stable now, and the studios made the wise choice to make sure players can always choose between traditional battle royale and the popular respawn-friendly variant, Resurgence. Add the quirky, but fun extraction DMZ mode into the mix, and there's a whole lot of game in there for free.
Release date: 2017| Developer: PUBG Corp | Steam
The battle royale that put the genre on the map is still wildly popular, even if you stopped hearing about it. Despite becoming the most-copied game of its time, there's still no surviving battle royale that plays quite like it. If you like milsim-aligned gunplay with unforgiving bullet drop, high recoil, and a realistic art style, PUBG is where it's at these days. Along the way, Krafton has experimented with rule changes and map variations inspired by other stapes of the genre, like a gulag second chance system, respawn opportunities, and arcade modes.
Release date: 2021| Developer: 24 Entertainment| Steam
The most popular battle royale game you're not playing. Naraka: Bladepoint is a martial arts battle royale that represents a fresh and much-needed twist on the genre. 60 players, all armed with grappling hooks, clash in melee combat using swords, spears, fists, and sometimes a massive chainsaw. The animations are fast and weightless, the movement is frenetic and fluid, and unlike just about every other battle royale out there, the character creation tools are top notch.