Playstation Battle Royale: Blatant Ripoff or Answer to Prayer?

Last week, without much fanfare at all, a game titled Playstation All-Star Battle Royale was announced for the PS3. Once you struggle past the exceptionally longwinded title, the game at its core is Super Smash Bros. using Playstation exclusive characters.

The comparisons to Nintendo’s version are obvious once you watch the game in action (below). It’s the same concept, the same style and I’m guessing it plays pretty similar as well. As such, people are calling it a shameless rip-off, attempting to capitalize on the success of another game.


To that I say, poppycock. Yes, poppycock.

The industry is all about building on ideas from past games. Should we have killed the FPS genre to ensure no one ripped off Doom? Should we have left platformers to Mario alone? So long as you’re not Zynga and cloning entire games line for line, there is nothing wrong with taking a good concept for game and making it your own.

In fact, I’ve previously wondered out loud why it was that no one had ever attempted a fighting game in the style of Smash Bros. Practically everyone will admit that each of the three installments has been one of the best titles for each of their respective systems, and I’m shocked it’s taken this long for someone to follow suit.

Yeah, it looks familiar, but so what?

I applaud Sony for finally organizing a title like this. For as much as I used to mock them for a relatively lackluster selection of exclusive titles, now that I own the system, there really are a lot to choose from. The character revealed so far are Kratos (duh), Parappa the Rapper, Sly Cooper, Fat Princess, Sweet Tooth and Mael Radec from Killzone. Obvious additions that should be announced at some point hopefully would be Jak, Ratchet, Crash Bandicoot, Sackboy, Spyro, Nathan Drake and Cole McGrath from Infamous. Those names alone would be all you needed for an effective roster. Rumor has it a few third party characters might join up as well.

Simply put, this is awesome. At least in theory. Smash Bros. games work because their mechanics are phenomenal, not just because there are a lot of recognizable characters onscreen. The game still has to function as an effective fighter. I’m a bit worried because they do seem to be using the traditional “lifebar” style, rather than Smash Bros. “get them off the edges of the screen” system. If they adopted that, maybe they were afraid the “ripoff” cries would have been louder, but that’s the one mechanic that I think made Smash Bros. the great game it was, and I’m not sure you can lose it altogether.

I’m pretty surprised this wasn’t announced at E3, but more information is supposedly going to be revealed there. Hopefully that  includes a new name because “Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Even just cutting the “all-stars” would be a vast improvement if you ask me.

Heavenly Sword! I forgot about that game.

So no, I don’t think this is a rip-off, and anyone who knows anything about game development history should realize that nearly every game released is inspired by something else. Just because Nintendo did an all-star fighting game first, Sony can’t?

Your turn Microsoft. Though I vote you make yours a multiplayer shooter so we can have Master Chief vs. Marcus Fenix vs. uhhh, hm. Maybe Microsoft is the one lacking viable exclusives for a game like this.

Good work Sony, I hope this lives up to its promise.

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  1. Fighting games are a genre, like FPS’ and Platformers. Taking a twist of the fighting game genre and copying just about everything about it is not the same thing as making another game in the same genre. At all. Sonic and Mario are both platformers, and not the same thing. So it’s a little different than your argument suggests.

    That being said, this could still be pretty cool, so I’ll hold off my judgement on the actual game, “rip-off” or no.

  2. Several issues as, to my understanding, why gamers complain about this game:

    -as much as I understand your point of the lack of SMBstyle fighting games, and the good that’ll bring, this game feels and looks perhaps too much like SMB

    think Street Fighter first…straight up fighting….then comes Mortal Kombat (“rip off!” we protest) but wait, it’s bloodier, more gore and, of course, Fatalities….later on SoulCalibur -> weapons!

    each new game added just a little bit to make it stand on its own…will Battle Royale do that? so far it doesn’t look like it but since when are we patient enough to see, let’s complain now!

    -the cartoony look – SMB can pull off having Captain Falcon, Marth, Samus, Ganondorf (and maybe Snake too) fit into the cartoon-like world inhabited by Pikachu, Mario and Ness, it’s a Nintendo feel…Nathan Drake, Kratos the zombie looking fella on the left in the last picture? not so much….at least at first they don’t seem to fit so well with each other..which leads to…

    -the characters – a complain for Nintendo? the keep using the same characters in their games (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, etc.). Get them together to fight? their already family!

    Sony? Fat Princess – who?, Parappa – great for old gamers that remember him (1997 release date – come on!), everyone else, not so much…Kratos – obvious choice but other than him there aren’t a lot of games out there that truly say “SONY” most of their exclusives turned multiplatform years ago..

    but I rant too much…I’m a gamer, if the game is good and entertaining, fork it over, I’ll play it…we should just complain less and enjoy things….but seriously Sony, you took too long to release a game like this..

  3. @Javier How did their exclusives turn multi platform earlier? As Paul said, there are a number of great exclusives that could be cool. Sackboys, Nathan Drake, Ratchet & Clank…and some ones that I thought of Ico, Last Guardian, Ecochrome, Ninja Gaiden?, Katamari? Sly Cooper? Infamous guy, Haze. And who says they have to be exclusives? Some Street fighter or Mortal Kombat characters in there would be pretty cool too.

  4. Growing up, my sister and I played a ton of Crash Team Racing on my PSX. Yes it was a blatant rip-off of MarioKart, but that was what we had. And it was fun enough to play, so why not?

    Like you, I’m actually surprised it took Sony so long to jump on this idea.

  5. @Diarmuid212
    Off the top of my head, GTA was PS exclusive until it went multiplatform…Ninja Gaiden is not PS exclusive…

    they do have to be exclusive, that’s the point of the game otherwise it can turn into any crossplatform fighter, just say Kratos is in the PS version and Master Chiref in the xbox version or something along those lines (also, it’s in the name of the game)

    and there’s also the fact that they can’t just throw in any character either, they have to get licensing…Capcom is as good as out them being invested in the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise so characters like Mega Man or from Resident Evil are out the window

    come to think of it, there’s an issue with brand identity…you tell me to name a Nintendo character I’d go with Mario or Zelda, you ask me the same for PS and I might think of Metal Gear or Silent Hill, but I’d be wrong…you can name Ratchet and Nathan Drake but they don’t have that “it” factor? (maybe, I don’t know how to express myself)…that’s why SMB was so great at first, Nintendo had 20 years of history and catalog to throw all of them in a game, most of those Sony characters are from this decade

  6. Ah, but who says you have to use the first party characters? Just because Nintendo did it with their catalog doesn’t mean that Sony has to. It is meant to be a different game right. True they’d have to acquire the rights to others, but nothing is written in stone saying they can’t.

    Hell, it doesn’t look like they went this direction, but they could even go off the map. I mean how badass would it be to fight as Big Bird, Count Chocula, Tony the Tiger, or how about characters from big Sony movie franchises? i.e. Men in Black, Karate Kid, Pippi Longstockings, Karate Kid, Blade… If they wen’t that direction they’d have a much bigger catalog than Nintendo could ever dream of.

  7. Microsoft actually has quite a large potential for characters if they were to try something like this.

    Here are just a few characters at the top of my head that could be used in a Microsoft fighting game all from Microsoft 1st party development studios

    Splosion’ Man (Splosion Man)
    Ms’ Splosion Man (Ms Splosion Man)
    Ilo and Milo (they could play like Ice Climbers) (IloMilo)
    Captain Smiley (Comic Jumper)
    Master Chief (Halo)
    Frank and The Maw (could play like Olimar?) (The Maw)
    Hero (Fable 3)
    Avatar (Your Xbox 360 Avatar)

    As well as every single character own by Rare which let me name just a few of their biggest properties.
    Banjo Kazooie
    Killer Instinct
    Blast Corps
    Jet Force Gemini
    and a lot more as well of course.

  8. This was expected. I mean hardware-wise, when Nintendo came up with the analog controler sony had to launch a different controller for their already existing PS1 (i.e. DualShock) otherwise their console would have been rendered obsolete just a year after its launch. Then when the wii came out with its motion sensing controller they said oohh, look, we got one of those too, not that we didn’t have this thing in mind years ago.

    They were also second at introducing online console gaming and awarding players with trophies instead of achievements. They did not use a numeric score system because that would REALLY spell “rip-off”.

    Sure, Microsoft could have made a game like this and it would make great sales, specially with kinect (a step up from the wiimote) but they haven’t. Nintendo could also integrate a robust online multiplayer and a reward system, but oddly, they don’t. Why they haven’t done this even though it would mean good business beats me. Maybe they are both too busy trying new things for all gamers to enjoy.

  9. @Jake
    Are you saying Sony doesn’t do anything original? Yeah because creating blu ray technology, something now standard for all home movies and something that will most likely be used by Microsoft in their next system, isn’t original. Or the eyetoy which is simply an early version of the kinect, oh yeah and it came out about 8 years before the kinect.

  10. @Caleb

    Yeah many of those are exclusives but mainly because they are marketplace downloadable games. Ask a person who plays only PS3 who Captain Smiley is and they are more than likely just going to give you an inquisitive look.

  11. There have been several other games like it before this one. People should look that up.
    So why is it suddenly a “blatant ripoff” only after Sony does it?

    Think about this: Street Fighter II….Fatal Fury….Mortal Kombat, etc.
    All you’re seeing is 4 characters on screen, jumping and beating each other up. And if that’s a rip off, then any 2D(sidescrolling) fighter is a ripoff.

    It’s not even the same concept. Smash Bros is about knocking opponents out of the stage/ring outs and uses a percentage system.
    PlayStation Battle Royale isn’t about ring outs. It has 3 main attack buttons, a 3 level super meter/gauge, original characters, stages, movesets, etc.

    You do realize that it was Microsoft who were second at doing online gaming on consoles, right?
    First it was the Sega Dreamcast.

  12. Whoever said Parappa was for old gamers: GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN!

    I am interested to see what comes of this game to be honest. I’ve never been a huge Smash Brothers fan, but I’ve also not owned a Nintendo console since the SNES so my experience with the series is usually just being frustrated while my friends whoop my butt.

    I can see the point to the “this is a rip off” trolls, because well, it certainly looks like one. My response: So? I think there is space for another game of this nature to exist. Especially since this experience thus far has been a Nintendo only thing. Stop being so greedy you Nintendo fanboys and go back to waggling your Wii’s.

  13. So is any game that uses a super bar is a ripoff of tmnt tournament fighters. But it was a great addition to the fighter genre. Plus Snake and Sonic weren’t exclusives but they appeared anyway. Try the game out before you talk bad about it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Even tho I think Cole would be overpowered. He’s already badass. Oh yeah Infamous and Batman AA are a ripoff of spiderman 2, but they were still good games.

  14. This is such a rip-off, it hurts. Everyone enjoys to copy Nintendo, motion controls, Mii-rip offs, trying to make a smaller console, but Sony seems to do it the most.

    Their motion controller looks suspiciously like a Wii Remote, and the mouse on the PC-gaming thing for the PS3 looks a lot like a Nunchuck. Google these if you disagree. Let’s not forget Joe Danger, which plays a lot like Excitebike, and the player character looks exactly like the Excitebike rider. Just because its old, doesn’t mean its alright to copy from, Sony. I won’t mention the name of the Mario Kart Wii rip-off.

    The only positive I see with this is Fat Princess is a character on there, who is a personnel favorite of mine. Though I do wonder what Sony will copy next.

  15. @Sam
    They have not done anything original in the PlayStation. They never seem to try new things. Specially in terms of changing the way we play.
    Thanks lizzy… I forgot about the Mii-rip offs.

    Yeah. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Sega. They never copied Nintendo. Always went about their way. Maybe tried so many new things people didn´t even know what to buy from them. Still kudos for that. Although on the long run, we all know what happened.

    It´s true, MS is the software behemoth we know today thanks to countless rip-offs from people who came up with original ideas. That´s why I undestand what Sony does. I actually mentioned that I don´t know why others don´t resort to these sort of practice.

  16. @Jake (again)
    I’m glad to see you responded to my two original examples, oh wait you didn’t. You just said Sony never did anything original for the playstation even though I gave you a prime example with the eyetoy. Good job.

    The 360 avatars are the mii ripoffs, not anything Sony did.

    Sony also perfected and popularized disc based games, something now common for everything. They also give original developers the room to create something special, something Microsoft has never done. Just ask peter molyneux.

    Basically what I’m saying is nobody does anything original anymore. What has Microsoft REALLY done that’s original? You can’t use the kinect or online gaming because you have been proven wrong on both of those opinions of yours. Sony draws inspiration from and improves better than anyone else at this point.

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