To top off a tumultuous few weeks for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ developer, PUBG Corp has backed down from its lawsuit against Fortnite creator Epic Games, reports Bloomberg via a news report published today.
PUBG Corp. allegedly ended legal action by way of a letter addressed to the lawyers mounting Epic Games’ defense confirming the withdrawal. This effectively ends months of feuding between the two biggest battle royale titles on the market today.
The trouble started back when Fortnite launched back in September 2017. PUBG Corp uttered stern words concerning the perceived similarity between the two games and vowed to explore legal options. Matters boiled to a head in January when PUBG publisher, and studio in its own right, Bluehole, officially filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court, claiming Epic Games was responsible for copyright infringement citing distinct resemblances between PUBG and Fortnite.
Having taken a seemingly ardent approach to pursuing Epic Games up to this point, PUBG Corp’s u-turn comes as a surprise. Its legal team have confirmed the news without providing any additional details, nor clarified whether the matter was settled by way of a settlement. Epic Games have refused to comment according to Bloomberg. Their silence follows an established trend throughout the whole saga as both parties have either avoided the matter entirely or issued brief cursory statements.
Eurogamer suggests the abrupt end to legal proceedings may stem from higher powers having a say in the matter. Chinese leviathan Tencent is part owner of both Epic Games and PUBG Corp, prompting speculation the giant may have intervened to protect both assets. Another factor hovering above the debacle is the strange matter of PUBG utilizing Epic Games’ licensed Unreal Engine under the hood. It seems a case of PUBG biting the hand that feeds.
In addition, when Bluehole vice president Chang Han Kim voiced his concerns about Fortnite last year, many observers were perplexed how the battle royale format could effectively be copyrighted. This prompted questions over where the concept originates from; DayZ, H1Z1, the Survival Games mod for Minecraft, The Hunger Games franchise, or even the eponymous Japanese cinematographic masterpiece Battle Royale? PUBG suing over a format they don’t outright own seemed ludicrous to many observers and still does.