Techland’s Battle Royale title Dying Light: Bad Blood has landed on Steam with a dull thump, its first week of early access seeing a peak of 455 players according to Githyp, with figures slumping further since.
A spin-off of the zombie-survival series Dying Light, this BR has launched in a gaming landscape bursting with very similar games - it is a perfect storm of questionable decisions and surrounding circumstances which has doomed this game to its slight player count.
Most obvious of these is the strange step of releasing an early access version of the game with a $20 price-tag, with the finished game to be released as a free-to-play experience. Asking players to pay for an unfinished version of what will one day be free is always a tough sell.
Additionally, for better or worse, Bad Blood deviates from the traditional BR formula. Many games have taken the concept of roughly 100 players dropping into a map and fighting to the death and integrated novel new mechanics - in some cases sticking close enough to attract an admittedly short-lived lawsuit - but this BR is different from the outset.
In Bad Blood, twelve players are inserted at random into a zombie-infested map, the match blending PvP and PvE gameplay, with an emphasis on the signature Dying Light parkour traversal, loot and a MOBA-esque level-up system rewarding the slaying of zombies. Only one player survives - one of the few similarities this BR shares with others of its ilk.
A swathe of battle royale options are available to players at the moment - from the current kings of the genre, Fortnite, and PUBG, to the recent Call of Duty: Blackout beta and countless smaller titles - many players are already invested in a specific BR game. Established players and new players alike are unlikely to spend $20 on an unfamiliar early access BR with mixed reviews.
Plans for the future of Bad Blood include new characters and foreign language versions in the short term, with new enemies, maps and modes further along. With luck, these additions and tweaks to the game’s shortcomings could eventually earn Bad Blood an audience.
Are you going to give this new spin on the battle royale formula a try? Is the genre beginning to lose steam? Let us know in the comments below.