PUBG Corp. has filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, alleging that Epic’s Fornite Battle Royale is far too similar to its own battle royale title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and, as a result, infringes on PUBG Corp.'s copyrights.
The Korea Times reports that Bluehole subsidiary PUBG Corp. filed the lawsuit to the Seoul Central District Court back in January, explaining now to the publication that the move was in an effort to protect its own copyright.
This lawsuit is particularly interesting, and messy, for a number of reasons, including the fact that Epic and PUBG Corp. have an interesting relationship to begin with. Together, the company's battle royale titles dominate the genre, both games are built with Epic's Unreal Engine, and both studios are owned at least partially by Tencent.
Additionally, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ushered in the big battle royale craze to begin with when it launched into Early Access in March 2017. The record-breaking success of the game was quickly followed by a sizable surge of other last-man-standing games, including a new, free-to-play battle royale mode in Epic’s existing title Fortnite.
Bluehole’s vice president Chang Hang Kim called out Epic in a press release shortly after Fortnite Battle Royale was announced, accusing the game of “replicating the experience for which Battlegrounds is known” and expressing displeasure that Epic publicly cited PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds as a major inspiration for its battle royale mode.
At the time, Bluehole said it was contemplating further action, and the January lawsuit seems to be the continuation of that earlier threat.
This also marks the second major lawsuit the company has filed against alleged copycats. PUBG Corp., Bluehole’s subsidiary for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds business, also recently filed a lawsuit against NetEase, alleging that a pair of the company’s mobile battle royale games, Knives Out and Rules of Survival, contain “similar visual and audio elements” to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.