Hi-Rez Studios‘s Realm Royale is the developer’s fantasy take on the battle royale genre, and though it started its life as a mode in the developer’s team shooter Paladins, it has now spun off into a standalone game. An Early Access version of it is available for free on PC today.
Realm Royale naturally shares similarities with giants in the genre like Epic Games’ Fortnite and PUBG Corp.’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Players can squad up in teams of four to try to take out all the competition. But Hi-Rez is trying to differentiate itself with its medieval aesthetic as well as a few new features.
In Realm Royale, players can choose different character classes, each of which has its own abilities. The Assassin can scout with drones and the Warrior can boost allies with shield potions. The map also features several Forges, which players can use to craft legendary weapons and are designed as skirmish points.
Hi-Rez is not the first nor last newcomer to try to get in on the battle royale action. Boss Key Productions threw its hat into the 100-player ring in April with Radical Heights, but it didn’t do well, and the studio folded soon after its debut.
But Hi-Rez has built a fan base before while competing with juggernauts. Its team shooter Paladins is up against Blizzard’s Overwatch, but it left Early Access with 25 million players. And its multiplayer online battle arena Smite isn’t nearly as popular as Riot Games’ League of Legends, but it still has over 25 million players as well. With a clear fan base, even if Realm Royale doesn’t even touch the mantle of Fortnite — which generated $223 million in February and is the biggest free-to-play console game ever — it might still find success.