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Three of Fortnite’s Biggest Changes

The story of how gaming’s current giant has evolved.

Apr 17, 2019

By: Noah Friscopp

Greatness from Small Beginnings

It is hard to turn in any direction in gaming, no matter what console or device you have and not see Fortnite everywhere you look. The influence it has had over games in the last couple of years is large, with an insane 200 million players total all trying to earn that sweet Victory Royale. The character skins, dances, and updates keep the game fresh and players having fun in the easy to play but hard to master third-person shooter. But it did not start out this way. Even though it is now known as the player vs. player giant it is today, it began development back a whole 8 years ago as a cooperative survival game where you and a group of friends build structures and defenses to ward off tons of dangerous mutant zombies.

The story revolved around colorful characters fighting off dangerous mutant hordes and rebuilding their homesThe story revolved around colorful characters fighting off dangerous mutant hordes and rebuilding their homesCourtesy of

Trying Something New

Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite wanted to try something new with a game focusing on more than just gameplay focused on story and their talent for designing intense multiplayer battles. Fortnite was shown to be a game that wanted to engage you in zombie combat, exploration, fort and defenses building, looting items and materials, progression with characters and weapons leveling up with use, missions where the game would randomly generate new areas for players to explore and fight in and eventually player vs player action.

The art style and characters changed a lot during the game’s developmentThe art style and characters changed a lot during the game’s development

The Beginning of Something Big

Many players enjoyed the game prior to Battle Royale, but the decision to change the focus from the co-op mode to the player vs player one is what put the game on top. It only took two months for Epic Games to create the battle royale mode, and that short amount of time would go on to earn the company much more success than the rest of the many years spent working on the game. There are many other Royale games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and H1Z1 out there that had proven to be a lot of fun, but Epic Games thought Fortnite’s interesting combat and building mechanics could create an interesting twist on these types of games, and they were right! There are many action games available today, but how many of them let you tear down the environment and create structures of your own?

Building is more important than shootingBuilding is more important than shooting

While players mainly used the weapons and items scattered around the areas of other battle royales, Fortnite allows you to scavenge nearly everything you see including trees, stones, buildings, cars and more to create structures of your own in order to stay safe. This creates an exciting change to those other games that mainly focus on the player's skill in fighting. In Fortnite, a lot of the time those who win are not the ones who can shoot the best but rather the ones who can build the best. Nearly every match where I almost won, I lost to a player who could somehow create a skyscraper out of wood in seconds. Epic has luckily tried to level the field for new players in the past year so that your chances of winning are higher even if you have not quite mastered the building mechanics yet. This makes the game much more enjoyable for everyone.

Always Changing

A huge part of Fortnite’s continued enjoyment has been in part to the constant updates and changes made to the game and its island. New game modes and timed events keep players coming back like huge 50 vs 50 battles and the recently added Playground mode where a small group can mess around with all of the game’s weapons and build as much as they want. Battle Royale’s action takes place on one giant map, but the place has gone through quite a lot of change since the mode came out. Each season, Epic Games creates some kind of event that changes the map’s locations either just a little or greatly so that the game always feels new.

Crazy 50 vs 50 modeCrazy 50 vs 50 mode

The map began as a very bland and mostly green landscape with a few groups of buildings, which now in the game’s eighth season has snowy, desert, swampy areas in addition to the forests and fields of the original as well as more buildings and houses with the potential of loot. Thanos from The Avengers was playable for a time, meteors and earthquakes shake up the playspace destroying old locations and replacing them with new ones, vehicles and weapons have been added and removed, it is pretty incredible how consistently Epic has created new twists on such simple gameplay.

Changes to the Battle Royale map from season 1 and season 8Changes to the Battle Royale map from season 1 and season 8

Fun for All

Perhaps the biggest Victory Royale to come out of the game’s success is the ability for all versions of the game to play together because of cross-play. Despite some problems at first with PlayStation not wanting to join the fun, Fortnite currently allows both Xbox and PlayStation players to automatically be grouped up for matches with Nintendo Switch and mobile users being linked up together as well. This step toward making every player feel welcome in a large community is one that I hope lasts well into the future no matter what game is being played.

Shawn Layden of PlayStation, Phil Spencer of Xbox, and Reggie Fils Aime of Nintendo announcing cross-platform playShawn Layden of PlayStation, Phil Spencer of Xbox, and Reggie Fils Aime of Nintendo announcing cross-platform play

I played Fortnite Battle Royale day one, and comparing the game then to now is like night and day. What began as a very basic play space with a few weapons scattered about and players who had not yet mastered the building systems quickly evolved into a sprawling and dynamic experience thanks to Epic Games’ constant support and updates that keep the game fresh. The free to play mode and the colorfully animated look makes the game very easy to jump into and try, no doubt a huge part of what makes the game so fun. It is safe to say Epic Games made the right move trying their own take on the battle royale genre, but with the cooperative Save The World portion still not free to play as promised last year, I wonder if that side of the game will ever get some of the spotlight it deserves. It is obvious that despite some new competition in EA’s Apex Legends, Fortnite is not going anywhere, even adding in some liked features from that game. Millions of players continue to enjoy the game with season 8 in full swing and the future is looking bright for its fans.

Fortnite - Season 8 - Cinematic Trailer

 

 

Share Your Thoughts

Have you played Fortnite Battle Royale? What zany twist should be added to the game next? Let us know below!