Turn the TV on and you will be exposed to a world changed; footballers, pop stars, and newsreaders are all taking part in the global phenomenon known as Fortnite. What exactly is Fortnite?
At its core Fortnite is the colloquial name given to the Battle Royale mode of the 2016 action-survival game from Epic games. The base game of Fortnite consists of two modes, Battle Royale and Save The World. The latter was to be the main experience of Fortnite, allowing players around the world to team up and tackle hordes of the undead by building and upgrading their bases in order to survive for as long as possible while completing challenges. The building mechanic of Fortnite is used heavily across both modes however the Free-to-play Battle Royale mode is the mainstay of the game. This may be, in part, due to the Save The World mode being charged for as opposed to the Battle Royale mode being completely free to play.
The Battle Royale mode is, at its core, a kill-or-be-killed experience. Players travel to an isolated island where they battle against 99 other opponents, all vying to be the last one standing. Survival odds are increased by foraging for building materials to use in the middle of fire-fights, gathering weapons, (all of which are ranked via an RPG-style colour system) and eliminating other players.
Just in case all of the above isn’t enough, players also have to escape an ever-expanding storm which is slowly engulfing the island. Any players who are unlucky enough to get caught in the storm, start to lose health incrementally until they are eliminated.
Players are able to purchase individual items from the in-game store and can benefit from timed offers which allow them to net a cool outfit along with a bonus of V-bucks, ostensibly reducing the price of the outfit purchased to a fraction of its original cost.
New modes are added periodically and range from the sensible (50 vs 50) to the ludicrous (Dancefloor capture). All of the modes in Fortnite are just re-imaginings of old gamemodes from previous games, but with added Fortnite flavour. These can include Capture the Points, Team Deathmatches and Free-For-Alls.
The Battle Royale mode is constantly being expanded with the addition of a Battle-Pass, this is a season pass which allows players to earn premium cosmetic items via XP progression. The pass is purchased with real-life currency, but every pass after the first pass purchased can usually be earned as long as you are willing to play for a reasonable amount of time each season. Seasons occur every 10 weeks and usually consist of 100 Battle Pass tiers. There are two rows within each season tier scale; premium and free. Free items can be earned throughout the season and are very achievable based on average game play numbers, the premium rewards are usually a little more visually appealing and require a tad more effort to unlock, especially if you decide you would like all of the rewards for the season.
The battle pass system within Fortnite helps to keep the game fresh by adding new content every season, the seasons in Fortnite are usually two months long and come with cosmetic and interactive changes to the map. Most battle royale games feature one singular map on which players fight for the number one spot, Fortnite’s map however changes in line with a continuing narrative which is told via an introduction cutscene at the beginning of the season and displayed through environmental changes on the island.
Fortnite as a game is a relatively simple experience which largely pivots on how well a player can build and battle simultaneously and epitomises the ‘minute to learn, lifetime to master’ ethos. The variation of weapons which are collected during play usually plays little-to-no part in the endgame stage of Fortnite and the crown usually goes to the person who can build the biggest and most complicated structures at lightning-speed.
I believe that all these reasons contribute to ensure that Fortnite stays relevant and popular be it: continuing game changes, frequent updates, developer interaction or community events, Fortnite manages to stay ahead of the curve and is a game which people either love or they hate; but for all the haters I have only one thing to say: it’s fine to have an opinion but we can’t ignore the facts. Fortnite is exceptionally popular and profitable, and will continue to be so for a long time to come.