The battle royale genre is still relatively dominant despite holding that spot for several years. Normally fad and trend-driven, online games are anything if not innovative – so much so that we often forget about the titles that “started it all” in a way.
When it comes to the battle royale genre, most people will point to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as being the game that introduced the genre to the world. In reality, PUBG merely popularized a genre that a game called The Culling helped pioneer.
And now it looks like The Culling is diving headlong into farce and tragedy. Through its untimely demise and resurrection, The Cullings’s recent implementation of one of the most questionable monetization schemes in gaming history does not bode well in its quest for relevance. When you add a failed sequel that was pulled from Steam to the mix, you’ve got a series that seems to be wrapped up in a kind of existential crisis we haven’t seen play out in the gaming industry in some time.
So, where do we begin with explaining this system? Here’s the deal: If you don’t already own The Culling, it will cost you $5.99. Once you’ve purchased the game, you will get one free play per day, unless you win the match in which case you’ll get another play. Players that do not win the match and would like to continue playing a game they currently own can then either purchase tokens or a $5.99 per month subscription to the game.
In short, it’s all of the worst aspects of the arcade model with a game that runs in and out of cancellation status. As VG 24/7 points out, this is simply not a game that most people want to put any time or money into over the longterm.
What is most disheartening about this business model is that it both asks people to own the game and then to pay to play. That really doesn’t make a lot of sense, particularly when you look at the success Fortnite has enjoyed with its free-to-play model. Epic is legitimately building an empire on the back of that game to help sustain itself beyond Fortnite’s initial success and you would think that devs would try to copy that model as much as possible instead of this questionable approach.
Another sad aspect to all of this is that the game isn’t the most stalwart entry out there anyway. People question its viability, let alone with this wonky business model. On one hand it has definitely drawn a spotlight on the game but it hasn’t highlighted it in a positive way and we can’t imagine that this is the scenario the team behind The Culling envisioned. We’ll see what happens with the game but so far, not so good.
Source – VG 24/7