Fortnite is an online multiplayer video game developed, published, and distributed by Epic Games in 2017. It was released for Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Android. Also, it is expected to be released on next-generation systems, such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Epic Games is a company accustomed to launching successful franchises. Among the best known are both newer titles such as World War Z (2019), or other more classic but equally important as the Unreal Tournament (1999). The original developer of Fortnite is the American Darren Sugg, also known for directing and being an artist in the Lord of The Rings online game saga.
Records in sales and users
The title also features a cooperative mode called Fortnite Save The World and Fortnite Creative, but the company’s main focus was on Fortnite Battle Royale. Within two weeks of the release of the latter, it was recorded that over 10 million people had played it. Also, during the first half of 2018, this number increased to approximately 125 million users.
The fact that it is a free-to-play installation did not prevent Fortnite from being a complete commercial success. In May 2018, it reached its peak in sales, obtaining $318.3 million, holding the historical record for free game revenue in a single month.
This way, Fortnite surpassed other giants in the market like League of Legends ($207.6 million in November 2016) and Pokemon Go ($203.5 million in August 2016). Besides, throughout 2018, it is estimated that Epic Games achieved an estimated $2.4 billion with Battle Royale alone.
The Impact Inside and Outside of Video Games
The presence of this franchise was also noticed in the world of e-sport. Among several tournaments that it held in the 2018/2019 season, Epic Games announced that it had an estimated pool prize of $100 million to be divided among all of them. In the same year, The Fall Skirmish event featured a competition between 500 participants over six weeks.
The event gave away $10 million in prize money and registered that Twitch fans accumulated 16.8 million hours of tournament viewing on the platform.
Finally, Fortnite caused a huge social stir. On one hand, it attracted renowned figures such as Drake, Travis Scott, Kim DotCom, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who broke audience records in Twitch. On the other hand, a great controversy was created in the media, where several news programs invited parents to reflect on the content consumed by their children.
Three modes, three separate games
As mentioned above, the game is divided into three main modes. Originally conceived as one, upon reaching success in all of them it was decided to separate them into different games where each one had its maintenance team.
The first and most popular of them is Fortnite: Battle Royale. In it, users can embark alone or with groups of two or four people to a massive duel of up to 100 competitors.
Before the game begins, all players are moved to a lobby where they can practice while waiting for the server to fill up. When all the players are on stage, the game begins with all the characters on top of a bus held in the sky by a hot air balloon. As the globe moves across the map, users can choose when to parachute in, thus starting the real game.
On the ground, each character starts with a hammer and must quickly find chests with items and weapons to help them take down the other competitors. Moreover, trees or structures can also be destroyed to collect different materials.
These give the possibility to build walls of different types, very useful to cover from attacks or use them as a strategic point to attack in a better position. After a few minutes, a circle called the Storm Eye begins to close every certain amount of time in some random part of the map. Players who are outside will take damage per second until they die or leave it, generating more and more encounters to shorten the duration of the game. The match ends when only one participant or team is left on the field, giving experience points to all based on their final performance. The experience serves to level up, useful to unlock various prizes that add aesthetic customization to the characters of the adventure.
Next, there is the Fortnite: Save the World mode. In it, a group of up to four players with characters that occupy different types of roles must group to complete missions in a story mode. The title is a combination between the survival style of Left4Dead2 and the ability to obtain resources and build from Minecraft. In-game, the main players have an inventory of items, level systems and skills and even the possibility to improve technology throughout the progress of the story.
Although most of the missions are to occupy positions, build forts, and fight hordes of zombies, these do not lose relevance because they are generated in random locations.
Launched in late 2018, the latest mode in the franchise is Fortnite: Creative Mode. Far from being focused on action or a story with objectives to follow, it is oriented to bring out the most creative side of the community. For this purpose, the players are given a private island so they can build and customize it in their way. Also, they can invite other users to see it and even participate in mini-games on it, always in a recreational way without getting prizes or experience.
Guns with rarity system
Despite not having a great variety of weapons, the game handles a rarity system that compensates for this. First of all, the weaponry has no model and is only classified by the type of gun.
Among them are the pistol, the pump, and the tactical shotgun, the assault and assault burst rifle, the rocket launcher, grenades, launch pad, and proximity mines. Also, later on, several other weapons were added, such as the sniper rifle, sub-machine gun, and other items oriented to survival.
Each of these weapons comes with a different rarity, separated by the labels Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. This not only defines their appearance but the damage they do and the difficulty of obtaining them. With this feature, the game not only manages to give users several weapons in one but also the desire and satisfaction of finding an unusual item.
Cartoonish graphics: more than a choice, a strategy
Like its most direct competitor, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, this game uses the Unreal Engine 4 as its graphic engine. Far from utilizing similar visuals to its realistic competitor, Fortnite employs vivid colors and caricatures to be more approachable to all audiences. This not only brings Fortnite closer to a younger public but also makes it accessible for mid-range computers. Having more colorful graphics does not make them bad: they all have effects that change according to the weather and have an excellent quality of shading and detail.
Also, The title was inspired by the Borderlands saga, where not only its colors were employed, but also its weaponry rarity system and presentation of enemies in Save The World.
A large map with all kinds of locations
The adventure takes place on the same map, but with an immense number of locations to explore and discover in each game.
Among the 19 different zones where all the duels take place, several biomes can be found that change the player’s experience. First, there are maps like Misty Meadows, Risky Reels, Lazy Lake. Pleasant Park, Holly Hedges, Retail Row, and Salty Springs where the setting is a series of semi-urban villages surrounded by forests. Then, in Craggy Cliffs, Slurpy Swamp, and Steamy Stacks, the orientation takes a more industrialized path and the city becomes more present. Finally, other maps like Dirty Docks, Frenzy Farms, Sweaty Sands, Weeping Woods, The Agency, The Shark, The Yacht, The Rig, or The Grotto use different themes, like purely rural villages or others where they are surrounded by a mostly aquatic environment.
Connectivity, servers and updates
Regarding its connectivity, the most recurrent problem in Fortnite is the connection problems with the server. These are fixed as soon as possible, but not before receiving several complaints through their social networks, being together with League of Legends, the game that usually receives more complaints. The title has servers all over the world.
These can be found in the United States (California and Oregon), Japan (Tokyo and Osaka), South Korea, India (Mumbai), Singapore, Australia, Canada, Germany (Frankfurt), Ireland, United Kingdom (London), France (Paris) and Brazil (São Paulo).
Although the patch schedule is once a month, this does not prevent developers from constantly fixing bugs and adding additional content. For example, in January and February 2020 the title received one update per month, but in other months such as July, August, and September 2019, it received four. Even while they generally focus on optimizing the player’s experience, many times they simply do it to add an item or a small change to a map.
In short, Fortnite revolutionized the world of video games and social networks. It even temporarily brought YouTube to its knees in front of Twitch, the platform where it was most popular. Despite basing its identity on mixing elements from several games (PUBG, LoL, Borderlands, Minecraft. L4D2, and Terraria), there is no denying its intelligence and success in doing so. In a statistic made in 2019, it was corroborated that between the public of Fortnite and PUBG, its main competition, 35% play only the first one, 25% play PUBG, and 40% play both.
Despite all the criticism it receives for the points mentioned above, the title is not only a fun adventure of shooting and strategy. The social turmoil that caused achieved that the world of video games is again the center of attention and helped greatly to the growth of the same as an e-sport. Because of this and the upcoming arrival of season 3, Fortnite already has a great chapter in the history of video games but will continue to write it.