In its current state, surviving to see the winter will be a gleaming success for Realm Royale. Once a refreshing take on the genre, the game has been reduced to a shell of what it used to be and a reminder of what it could've become.
Well it won't be that much of a reminder if you're not familiar with the game because Hi-Rez Studios and their Realm Royale-handling studio Heroic Leap Games removed all trace of classes from the game. This basically marks the final step in transforming a unique game into a generic battle royale.
Numbers seem to agree as well, with Realm Royale not even making Steam's top 100. And we're talking about a game that peaked at 105,440 players at launch, a milestone that no other recently launched battle royale could boast.
For all its quirks and niggles, Realm Royale had a personality. And personality goes a long way, as a wise man once said. This is amplified infinitely in the world of gaming, being a superior art form and all.
Conceived as an offshoot to Paladins, all Realm Royale needed were slight tweaks and balancing changes to the existing formula. Its fun-factor was already through the roof. EZ right? Apparently not.
Heroic Leap Studios seemed too busy implementing whatever social experiment they were conducting on nerve-wracked players that month to notice that most of what they were addressing was never asked or needed by anyone, ever. Patch after patch turned the game into poor man's Fortnite, which is ironic since the latter is free.
Heroic Leap probably felt the financial burn, prompting the company to go for a more user-friendly, i.e. dumbed down version of the game, which ended up being Catch 22. Make no mistake though, the company shouldn't feign surprise at how things turned out - they can trace all these decisions just as easy as any clerk with one good eye.
As hateful as some get, gamers can be a loving bunch when shown a bit of love. I'm not even a game developer and I know that finding community members who know what they're talking about and truly listening to them is crucial. You let the community build itself by listening and iterating, not barging into Twitch streams Soderlund style.
Unfortunately, Heroic Leap don't seem to think so and here we are. Realm Royale at its deathbed while Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout runs away with glaring reviews for similar concepts. Shame though.