Characteristic Components of Meta Rule in Battle Royale Games



GyuHyeok Choi*, Mijin Kim**


Department of Visual Contents*, Division of Digital Contents**

Graduate School of Dongseo University*, Dongseo University**

Busan, South Korea,






Gameplay is a main component that distinguishes a specific game from other games. It works as a priority criteria for a gamer to choose a game and used as a measure to highlight the characteristics of a specific game by emphasizing the detail characteristics of the game. This thesis tries to extract common characteristic components from the gameplays of recently attention drawing battle royale games. For doing such, play tests were performed for 10 battle royale games to clarify the meta rule’s action and rule of play, in order to propose a category to distinguish a specific gameplay genre. It can work as a helping factor to distinguish the unique play style of battle royale game to offer implications for genre setting and contribute to the differentiation strategy.


Keywords-Meta Rule; Rule of Play; Action of Play; Battle Royale Game;


1. Introduction


The battle royale game has drawn attentions from game players by expressing the Japanese movie (Battle Royale, 2000) similarly with the ‘Battle Ground (2017, serviced by Steam) [1]. Afterwards, the battle royale games (e.g. Fortnite, Battle Ground, H1Z1, etc.) claiming a new genre called as ‘Battle Royale’ are being serviced with various platforms (PC, XBox, Mobile, etc.). But there are not enough systematic analyses and characteristic related studies to distinguish the battle royale game as a genre. A specific game genre shares a unique gameplay. Therefore, the unique differentiated characteristic components of battle royale game must be organized for the battle royale game to be made and developed with variety game characteristics.

Gameplay defines the process interacting with game level element [2] or game rules and play patterns generated from the rules to achieve the goal from the player’s point [3]. Therefore, the gameplay gives goals to players for interactions and determines the character control, player’s behaviors and others. Gameplay can be interpreted as the player’s points defined by interactions between the player and game level elements, and game mechanics points defined by rule and action of play [3]. This paper takes a look at the characteristics of the gameplay from game mechanics point. The rules of game inducing interactions between players and game level elements can be categorized into three categories: manipulation rule, goal rule and meta rule [4]. The manipulation rule and goal rule are the unique game title’s settings and unchangeable rules; and the meta rules define how to control or modify game, which induces various play actions of players during the process of achieving the game level goals. Therefore, clarifying the characteristics of meta rule can be a specific method to predict a player’s gameplay in a specific genre.

Play tests for 10 battle royale games were performed in this paper to distinguish common characteristics of meta rules. The characteristic components of gameplay were extracted by analyzing rule and action of play via play tests and observation tests performed by specialists. Proposing a detailed gameplay range can help people to create new battle royale game and offers implications for setting its genre. And it is considered as able to build plans to emphases the differentiation of gameplay as the genre characteristics of battle royale game can be emphasized.

2. Battle Royale Game


Various survival games were released since the ‘Hunger Games (2012)’. A survival game is a sandbox[1] type game with a goal to survive by acquiring items and fighting each other in a various danger filled game levels. A survival game was designed with PVP as the base, but the sizes and the settings of game level are very widely set to comply with the game world’s scenario, which resulted low PVP occurrences. In order to solve the problem, the motive of a Japanese movie made in 2000, ‘Battle Royale (2000)’, was applied to create a battle royale mode as a survival game mode for frequent PVP occurrences. The battle royale stared as a game mode, has gained high interests and was used in various survival games, and this is being serviced as a new genre since the ‘Battle Ground (2017, serviced by Steam)’.

A simple summery of battle royale game’s basic play rules is the followings. The goal is to be a final survivor just like a survival game. A player selects a surviving point with minimum given equipments and the player is to acquire various items and fight with other players to survive. The necessary information for such survival can be obtained from the game map and the survival advantage points can be preoccupied.


3. Play Test on Battle Royale Game


The tests were performed to extract the gameplay of the recently rising game, the battle royale game; and the common points of analysis subjects were extracted by setting game’s main meta rule as the category. The meta rule is unlike the manipulation rule and goal rule that cannot be changed as configured from the beginning; it defines the action of play which can affect the game elements to bring the challenges to players to achieve the game goal. Therefore, the in-depth analysis for the meta rule can be an important index to predict the creator’s gameplay intention.


3.1. Material and Method

The analysis subjects, battle royale games, were selected from the 10 games introduced by PCGAMER (2018 Aug. issue) [5]. The PCGAMER is a most globally sold magazine established in 1993 by UK. The 10 analysis subjected battle royale games were selected from the noticeable top 10 battle royale games of 2018 by PCGAMER. Play tests and observation tests were performed by two specialists for actual analysis.


3.2. Play Test and Results


Table 1. Characteristic Components of Meta Rule in 10 Types of Battle Royale Game


Meta Rule





of Play

Starting with minimal equipment

Decreasing in size of safe area

Scattering around the map benefits for combat and survival


of Play

Customizing the appearance of player character

Combating to obtain equipment from eliminated players

Acquisition the information of random area

Moving into magnetic field and out of red zone

Searching the map for beneficial items while avoiding being killed by other players


in Game


<Raptues Rejects : Farming>


<Fear Wolves : Game map>


<Fractured lands : Moving>

<Table 1> is the description of the meta rule commonly applied to all 10 battle royale games. The elements those are in some games but not in more than 1 game were excluded.

The meta rule of battle royale game is the rule that induces the challenges and actions of play in order to achieve the game goal. The differentiations are emphasized for each game title as its base is the game’s base settings or themes, but the characteristics that only the meta rule of battle royale game have 3 clear characteristics. First, all players start the game with equal minimum given equipments. Because of this, the play action of acquiring items (battle equipments, survival kits, etc.) necessary for survival as shown on <Table 1_(1)> Raptues Rejects (2018, GALVANIC game) occurs. Second, as the playing time gets longer, the size of safety zone gets smaller in order to induce continuous PVP with the prediction of having less number of players. In this process, the players in the game level outside of the safety zone will be given with health penalties, and the players continuously acquire the entire game level, the player’s own location, safety zone and danger zone information from the game map. This can be confirmed with the player’s behaviors of acquiring game information using the game map from<Table 1_(2)> Fear Wolves (2018, Vostok games). Finally, the player continuously moves or uses vehicles as shown on <Table 1_(3)> Fractured lands (2018, Unbroken Studio) to survive and battle with the information obtained from the game map.


4. Conclusion


In this paper, play tests were performed on 10 games to distinguish the characteristics of the gameplay of battle royale games; and the characteristic components of meta rule were extracted. This proposes that the meta rule can be used as the specific category of gameplay to offer implications to improve its playability by emphasizing the genre characteristics of battle royale game. This may provide a meaningful data to set and predict behaviors of players in battle royale game.




[1]   C. Livingston, “The Battle Royale Games of 2018”, PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 4, 2018. Retrieved May 18, 2018.

[2]   C. Crawford, “The Art of Computer Game Design”, McGraw-Hill/OsborneMedia, 1984.

[3]   K. Salen, and E. Zimmerman, “The Rules of Play”, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, USA, 2003.

[4]   Frasca, G. “Simulation versus Narrative: Introduction to Ludology”, The Videogame Theory Reader, Routledge, 2003

[5]   C. Livingston, “The Battle Royale Game 2018”,, PC Gamer, Archived from the original on August 1, 2018.

1. Sandbox: Sandbox game in which the player may include building and creative activities without rules, generally employ an open world setting to facilitate the player's freedom of choice.