Takami’s premise was well suited to video-game adaptation. The rules were clearly defined, the setting neatly contained, and competitive violence had been one of the medium’s primary currencies since the nineteen-sixties. Video-game technology, however, wasn’t quite up to par. In the early two-thousands, very few computers could simulate, in 3-D, the behavior of dozens of characters doing battle across an island, and very few Internet providers could calculate whether a banjo hurled by, say, Bob, in Kansas, would strike the head of Sven, in Stockholm.
Soon, though, such games would be more than possible: they would transform the industry. In 2020, Warzone, the Call of Duty series’ take on “Battle Royale,” attracted more than a hundred million active players, generating revenues of about three billion. The same year, Epic Games reported that Fortnite, its candy-colored, kid-friendly spin on “Battle Royale,” had three hundred and fifty million accounts—more than the population of the United States. (A recent lawsuit revealed that, when Fortnite was available on Apple devices, the game generated an estimated seven hundred million in App Store revenue.) Today, countless games, along with hit TV shows such as “Squid Game,” bear the stamp of “Battle Royale” ’s influence. Takami’s blueprint, drawn from a dream, has become one of the dominant paradigms in entertainment.
Battle Royale has been so dominant as a game mode in online games the past few years, that I almost forgot there were a film and a book before all the chicken dinners and stuff that followed. A short overview of how we got from A to Z in this genre from The New Yorker.