A battle royale game, also spelled battle royal, is a video game genre that blends the survival, exploration and scavenging elements of a survival game with last-man-standing gameplay. Battle royale games challenge a large number of players, starting with minimal equipment, to search for weapons and armor and eliminate all other opponents while avoiding being trapped outside of a shrinking “safe area”, with the winner being the last competitor in the game. The name for the genre is taken from the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, which presents a similar theme of a last-man-standing competition in a shrinking play zone.
The genre’s origins arose from mods for large-scale online survival games like Minecraft and ARMA 2, before becoming popularized with standalone games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which had sold over 40 million copies by mid-2018. The same year, the free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale rapidly became a cultural phenomenon, overtaking Battlegrounds in terms of player numbers and revenue.