Earlier today it was revealed that Paladins: Champions of the Realm will be opening up a brand new mode title Paladins: Battlegrounds, a battle-royale take on Hi-Rez Studios’ hero-based shooter. And it didn’t take long for fans and critics alike to note the similarities between Paladins: Battlegrounds and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — most specifically, the name.
DualShockers got a moment to speak exclusively with Hi-Rez Studios’ President Stew Chisam, and we asked about the term “Battlegrounds” and whether the title was inspired by other battle royale games on the market. Chisam responded that though the naming choice was entirely unrelated to PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, though they first consulted with their attorneys beforehand (who gave them an all clear).
According to Chisam, the “Battlegrounds” in the Paladins: Battlegrounds mode (which the development team chose over “Paladins: Battle Royale”) is instead an homage to MMOs. Given that the game is team based and has a heavy reliance on high-speed mounts for transportation, Chisam believed that the game felt more akin to the standard battleground someone would see in an MMO.
More important to the argument is Chisam believes that the term “Battlegrounds” is a generic term — one that is unable to be trademarked — and is only applied to a specific game mode, not the name of the game itself. Along with the fact that this is an evolution of a previously-scrapped game mode that already existed in Paladins: Champions of the Realm, Stew Chisam is of the mind that the terms are separate and distinct in use.
Of course, developer PUBG Corporation may be of a different mind. The developers and publishers of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds had taken issue with competitor Fortnite lifting their signature gameplay in Fortnite Battle Royale. However, they have since clarified that their issue specifically rests with an objection of developer Epic using technology, UI, and ideas when PUBG Corporation had been licensing their engine.
It is also true that neither studio holds a trademark for the term “Battlegrounds.” Bluehole Inc. (PUBG Corporation’s parent company) does hold a trademark for “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” but it is unclear if that will extend to just the terms battlegrounds:
DualShockers has reached out to a representative of PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds for a comment.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm is currently available (in a Beta mode) for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The specific Battlegrounds mode will come out sometime in 2018 as a free-to-play option, but the exact release date is unknown.