Minecraft was pitched by its game makers as “Minecraft meets Left For Dead” which alone should make those of you reading/listening to this wanting to immediately stop to download the game for yourself. Before you do, though, let’s take a look at 10 Facts You Might Not Know About Fortnite, the game that is quickly becoming the most popular game on the market right now. A joint venture between Epic Games, the people that brought you titles like Unreal Tournament and Gears of War, and People Can Fly, the people behind Painkiller and Bulletstorm, Fortnite is so popular that it’s number one streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is suddenly the most popular streamer on platforms like Twitch. It was Ninja that recently played Fortnite (Battle Royale) with the world’s most famous rapper in Drake, which has put basically everyone and everything involved in that moment the internet was created for even more popular than they/it were before. So, again, let’s delve into the Top 10 Facts about Fortnite (Battle Royale), the game that Drake loves! Some of these facts apply to the general game Fortnite while the others are about the Battle Royale version or both.
10. Copycats are Coming
Fortnite was announced way back in 2011, which is a millenia in video game time and it could’ve been released much earlier but when Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds was released and became popular the developers behind Fortnite felt like they had lost their opportunity to strike first and decided to go back to the drawing board to ensure that their game didn’t end up looking like a cheap copycat of Battlegrounds, a game that was extremely popular on its own merits and came out of the games as such (as it’s Beta was one of the more popular PC games of its release year). Speaking of cheap copycats, the massive success of Fortnite has spawned a few upcoming copycats, however, with titles like The Darwin Project, Crazy Justice, and SOS and picking up where Fortnite has left off in the battle royal genre. Only time will tell whether or not those games will be able to knock either Fortnite or Player’s Unknown’s Battlegrounds from their thrones, but it’s looking like the real winner(s) will be the video game player, as competition is always a good thing for the consumer and from the look of those games (and the upcoming DLC/expansions that are coming for Fortnite), that’s true here as well.
9. It’ll Be Free Soon Enough… But is Still Selling like Hotcakes
Like “Freemium” mobile games, there’s more PC/Console games that are actually called “Free-to-Play” games because the game developers have to compete with one another and end up making more than enough money through in-game purchases to compensate for the typical $50 or $60 fee that they’d get up front. Fortnite is going to be one of those games, as it hasn’t fully launched yet and once it does it’ll join the category of free to play games that are dominating the industry right now. Despite the fact that it’ll eventually be free, over half a million people have purchased the game in some form since it became available. There’s the $40 version that comes with access to the game as well as loot packs and cosmetic items, the $60 Deluxe version, the $80 Super Deluxe version and $150 Limited Edition version that includes additional heroes, weapon packs and more. Despite all of the changing release dates and the fact that people have to pay for a game that’ll eventually be free, the hype behind the game seems to be getting stronger and stronger, basically because of the delays (or at least in lieu of them). So while it’ll eventually become free to play people aren’t really sure what that’ll mean or how it’ll work. Stay tuned for more details!
8. It’s Ever Changing
While some of the details in terms of what that free to play model will look like (or if people who purchased the game upfront will get some sort of benefit for doing so, beyond the above-mentioned benefits, of course), what is safe to say is that Fortnite appears to constantly be looking for ways to alter the gameplay to keep its players engaged and rewarded. Originally it was a basic, “every man for himself” game where people were pitted against one another in a gigantic map. Since it’s Beta (or Alpha) versions, the game has expanded to add changes to the game maps, the loot in the game as well as the in-game dynamics, basically put, the game is constantly evolving. After a 50v50 mode took the game by storm a while back it was then announced that a 5×20 mode was on the horizon (meaning that five teams of 20 will be facing off against one another), as well. That’ll include new maps and hopefully weapon types, which should help Fortnite continue its reign as one of the top games through 2018 and 2019. So, if you’ve ever wanted to get into the game, there’s really no better time than the present.
7. Battle Royale Very Well Could’ve Saved It
The early access to Fortnite let people pay to play the game starting in July of last year, however, that was basically a PvE layout in which people basically played against the AI in the game and not against the millions of other players that they’re playing against now (seemingly). While that version of Fortnite got decent to good reviews, it didn’t seem to be doing anything much different from what a lot of other free to play games were doing at best and at worst it was called menu-heavy, repetitive and even boring. Luckily for the people behind Fortnite (and the people playing it, as well), the release for the Battle Royale expansion was only about two months behind the initial release of the early access version of Fortnite. That opened up the game to it’s now super famous and popular multiplayer version, which basically allowed the game to explode in popularity almost overnight when it was rolled out in September 2017. That means that it was really an add-on that made Fortnite popular, not the actual game itself (that the people behind it had spent more than half a decade working on). It’s funny how things work out sometimes but considering that the Battle Royale expansion was sort of an afterthought, it means that the future should be pretty bright now that the developers know where to spend their time and energy.
Speaking of which…
6. Epic has a Full/Separate Development Team Working on Battle Royale
As described in the previous entry on this list, the Battle Royale mode of Fortnite wasn’t the initial or planned sole crux of the game. It was actually meant to mainly be a PvE, free-to-play game with a general multiplayer like most games have these days (and really have had since back in the GoldenEye days on Nintendo 64). However, with Battle Royale taking the entire world by storm seemingly overnight, Epic had to basically restructure it’s business and it’s teams to both handle the capacity of players who are playing the game at any given moment and to also ensure that they’re fully taking advantage of the popularity of their game (or at least, one aspect of their game). So with that in mind it was announced that Epic had split off a separate development team from the main Fortnite development team to solely focus on the Battle Royale or multiplayer aspect(s) of Fortnite, which will focus on improving existing gameplay as well as planning and implementing DLC, like new maps, new weapons and new characters (not to mention new game modes, as was explained a bit above). That means that Fortnite Battle Royale should be releasing consistent new content on a regular basis for the next few years!
5. The Game Used to be A LOT Creepier
According to the Wikipedia for Fortnite, the original game design/aesthetic for the game was actually a lot “darker” and “creepier” than what we ended up getting in July of last year, at least in terms of what the enemies looked like. The design of and for the husks and other enemies were meant to be a lot less PG, it seems, at least according to the former design director of the game, Cliff Bleszinski. He stated that they initially wanted to make the game scarier but changed their mind and went with the more “cartoonish” approach because they found that people were finding the game too grim, that the environment felt too “exhaustive” and also because they felt like that just opened them up to even more competition than they already had by having their game then compete with horror games like DayZ. That doesn’t mean that the game still doesn’t have some creepy baddies in it, just that they’re not the type of creepy that would make you not let your 10-year-old brother play.
4. The Game Design Used Pixar, Tim Burton and Looney Tunes as Inspiration
Once they decided to move on from the more adult, scary aesthetic for their computer generated and controlled characters they had to find a new aesthetic to work with and that’s where they decided to really commit to the cartoonish nature of the graphics by looking at some of the top cartoons in the history of the Western World. The first company, at least these days, that you’d think of when you think of animation (especially computer-driven animation) would be Pixar, which was a major influence. However, had you asked that question in the late 20th Century you would’ve gotten a different answer, with the Looney Tunes most likely being a top answer for most children and Tim Burton’s creepy aesthetic in films like The Corpse Bride and a Nightmare Before Christmas also most likely getting placed on that list (depending on the type of kid you’re talking to). Burton is perhaps the best example, or the one that you most recognized of those three, as he found a way to make scary palatable for small kids and that’s the balance that the people at Epic were clearly going for when they were developing Fortnite, especially in terms of it’s PvE gameplay.
3. Fortnite Almost had a PvP, Central Target, Base Building Mode
While this still very well could end up being part of the Battle Royale aspect of the game in the future, as of the writing of this article it’s still not part of the game. But, according to the Wikipedia for Fortnite, while the game was in development there was a player vs. player mode where “each side attempted to build up a base around a central target while trying to attack the opponent’s target after breaking through their base.” It isn’t clear why that didn’t make it into the final game but that sounds like the best example of a weaponized Minecraft that, as a newb to Fornite (Battle Royale or otherwise), that we’ve heard so far. While that’s not dissimilar to some of the objectives that other games have had in their multiplayer modes, like Capture the Flag in Halo, for example, it takes the concept to another level by adding the construction of a base (and destruction of an enemy base) to it. That sounds amazing and you’d have to think that it’ll be included in a DLC in the future, especially now that Epic has a full team working on things like that.
2. It has PlayerUnknown to Thank
Now, the fact that Fortnite originally wasn’t going to have a Battle Royale mode has been alluded to in this list above, but just how and why the Battle Royale mode was added hasn’t been really delved into. Considering the fact that the Battle Royale mode was released about two months after the initial paid release (or early release) of Fortnite implies that it was part of the plan all along but at least according to the Wikipedia for Fortnite Battle Royale, it was actually a spur of the moment thing (at least as close to a spur of the moment thing as developing a video game can be), as in that decision seemingly happened after the release for Fornite towards the end of July of last year. According to that Wiki entry:
“The idea [for] Fortnite Battle Royale came near the release of Fortnite in mid-2017. Following the release of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in March o 2017 and its rapid growth, the game that popularized the battle royale genre, Epic Games saw the ability to create a battle royale mode out of Fortnite”.
That means that the plan wasn’t always to release Battle Royale and that PlayerUnknown had a major (and obvious) influence on the game that has seemingly surpassed it. While it may not be the best thing for PlayerUnknown, it seems to have benefitted everyone else so we should all thank our lucky stars that Epic was able to basically copy their gameplay openly and without restriction!
1. It’ll Soon be Available on Your Android/iOS Device(s)
With the success of Battle Royale seemingly coming out of nowhere, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Epic Games, the people behind the game, are sort of playing catch up in terms of … Everything. As we’ve seen on this list the initial plan wasn’t for Fortnite to be a Battle Royale game, so we’re only really now beginning to scratch the surface as to what the game is and what it will be in the coming months or years. Part of that is porting the game to other platforms outside of PC’s and gaming consoles and perhaps the most exciting aspect of that is the fact that it’ll soon be available for free download on your mobile phones (assuming you have an Android or iOS device). What’s even more exciting is that those versions are expected to have cross-platform play, meaning that you’ll be able to play your friend who is playing on their Xbox One from your phone, or that you’ll be able to sign in to your Xbox One version from your phone to play while on the bus or at school. That’s something that a lot of older Millenials could’ve only dreamed of when they were in school and it’s definitely only going to help Fortnite Battle Royale basically continue it’s explosive growth unabated. The only caveat is that there won’t be cross-platform play for people with Playstations as it violates the policies that Sony has in place (at least if you ask Microsoft, who has been trying to set up cross-platform play for a while now). The beta version is actually available right now (as of March 15th) for iOS and was released to everyone yesterday, with the Android version coming soon!