Fortnite: Battle Royale, often shortened to Fortnite, is an online video game developed by Epic Games and released in July 25, 2017. It is available in three distinct game mode versions that otherwise share the same general gameplay and game engine: Fortnite: Save the World, a cooperative shooter-survival game for up to four players to fight off zombie-like creatures and defend objects with fortifications they can build; Fortnite Battle Royale, a free-to-play battle royale game where up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing; and Fortnite Creative, where players are given complete freedom to create worlds and battle arenas. The first two-game modes were released in 2017 as early access titles and Creative was released on December 6, 2018. Save the World is available only for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, while Battle Royale and Creative released for those platforms, in addition for Nintendo Switch, iOS and Some Android devices.
While the first two games have been successful for Epic Games, Fortnite Battle Royale became a resounding success, drawing in more than 125 million players in less than a year and earning hundreds of millions of dollars per month, and since has become a cultural phenomenon.
Currently, Fortnite is distributed as three different game modes, using the same engine and has similar graphics, art assets, and game mechanics.
- Fortnite: Save the World is designed as player-versus-environment game, with four players cooperating towards a common objective on various missions. The game is set after a fluke storm appears across Earth, causing 98% of the population to disappear, and the survivors to be attacked by zombie-like "husks". The players take the role of commanders of home base shelters, collecting resources, saving survivors, and defending equipment that help to either collect data on the storm or to push back the storm. From missions, players are awarded a number of in-game items, which include hero characters, weapon and trap schematics, and survivors, all of which can be leveled up through gained experience to improve their attributes.
- Fortnut Battle Royale is a player-versus-player battle royale game for up to 100 players, allowing one to play alone, in a duo, or in a squad (usually consisting of three or four players). Weaponless players airdrop from a "Battle Bus" that crosses the game's map. When they land, they must scavenge for weapons, items, resources, and even vehicles while trying to stay alive and attack other players, eliminating them. Over the course of a round, the safe area of the map shrinks down in size due to an incoming toxic storm; players outside that threshold take damage and can be eliminated if they fail to quickly evacuate. This forces remaining players into tighter spaces and encourages player encounters. The last player, duo, or squad remaining is the winner.
- Fortnite Creative is a sandbox game mode, similar to Minecraft in that players are given complete freedom to spawn everything that is within the game on an island, and can create games such as battle arenas, race courses, platforming challenges and more.
In the first two modes, players can use their pickaxe to knock down existing structures on the map to collect basic resources that are wood, brick, and metal. Subsequently, in all modes, the player can use these materials to build fortifications, such as walls, floors, and stairs. Such fortification pieces can be edited to add things like windows or doors. The materials used have different durability properties and can be updated to stronger variants using more materials of the same type. Within Save the World this enables players to create defensive fortifications around an objective or trap-filled tunnels to lure husks through. In Battle Royale, this provides the means to quickly traverse the map, protect oneself from enemy fire, or to delay an advancing foe. Players are encouraged to be very creative in designing their fortifications in Creative.
All game modes are set to be free-to-play titles, although as of 2019, Save the World is in early access and requires purchase to play. The first two games are monetized through the use of V-Bucks, in-game currency that can be purchased with real-world funds, but also earned through completing missions and other achievements in Save the World. V-Bucks in Save the World can be used to buy piñatas shaped like llamas to gain a random selection of items. In "Battle Royale", V-Bucks can be used to buy cosmetic items like character models or the like, or can also be used to purchase the game's Battle Pass, a tiered progression of customization rewards for gaining experience and completing certain objectives during the course of a "Battle Royale" season.
Save The World
The "Save the World" mode is described as a co-op sandbox survival game and is about exploration, scavenging items, crafting weapons, building fortified structures, and fighting waves of encroaching monsters. Tim Sweeney, Epic's founder, described the game as "Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead". The game plays in a third-person perspective and cycles between managing one's resources at a safe home base and then going out on missions to complete quests to collect resources and obtain rewards to advance the game's story.
In the meta-game, the player has an inventory of weapon and trap schematics, hero characters, defender characters, and support characters, along with collected resources. Schematics are used to construct weapons and traps when on the field. Hero characters represent characters from one of four classes that the player can use while on a mission, as well as used to undertake resource-gathering missions making them unavailable to use until they return from the mission. Defender characters can be summoned to help with defense but only if there are less than four players on a mission. Support characters are used to form various non-playable squads that provide passive bonuses to the player's attack strength, building speed, armor, and health, with additional benefits if the player can match certain characterization attributes within a squad. The player can spend different types of experience points and resources earned as mission rewards, from loot boxes (represented as llama pinatas), or other sources to level up and evolve schematics and characters. For weapons and traps, this generally boosts their effectiveness as well as unlocking additional attribute bonuses, while leveling up hero characters will unlock special skills the character has while in the field. Schematics and characters are generally assigned a rarity, which determines how much they can be leveled and evolved. A player's inventory of schematics and characters is limited, but players can opt to slot anyone they do not need into a collection book to gain rewards when certain collection sets are completed; use one or more of these schematics or characters to transform them into a new random item, or simply retire them to gain back experience points and other resources to free up the inventory slots.
The player also can spend skill points, earned by completing missions, and technology points, earned over time, to unlock new skills and technologies in the game's skill and technology trees. These can improve a player's base attributes, attributes that are shared with the other players while on missions, unlock higher levels of evolution for schematics and characters, open up new squad positions, or unlock general skills that players can use in the field. Collectively, the player's progress on these skill and technology trees, their squad composition, and their selected hero character make up the player's current "power level" which relates to what difficulty of missions the player should take and the game's matchmaking services. Also, players can review their current story progress and quests, which can include daily, side, and event quests, which when completed provide in-game currency or resources.
The mission is currently divided between four world locations, some available only after progressing far enough in the story, and special locations for timed events and for the Survive the Storm mode. Within a location are several possible mission areas that show the type of mission, the terrain it takes place on, its difficulty rating relative to the player's current power level, and whether the mission is currently under special "storm" conditions that throw random effects, like buffed husks or mini-bosses, into the mission but have potentially better rewards if completed. The player optionally can select a special site that automatically matches them with players at a similar power level and story progression on a random mission for added rewards.
Most missions take place on procedurally-generated landscapes. Most missions are based on locating site(s) representing the objectives on the map, build up fortifications around those locations, and then face off against several waves of husks that will try to destroy the objectives. During the completion of these missions, players are generally given a "storm forecast" to know where husks will spawn in as to enhance fortification in that direction, though this direction can change in more difficult missions. Other missions are time-limited, requiring the players to locate and help a number of survivors, build out several radar towers, or clear out a various encampment of husks scattered around the map before time runs out. These missions encourage the players to explore the map and farm for resources (either by searching objects or destroying them with an axe) used to build the fortifications, weapons, ammunition, and traps needed to defend or attack the husks. Players also frequently need to seek out bluglo, a special resource that does not carry over between maps to activate certain mission objectives. Some missions are considered a loss if the objective is destroyed or time runs out, while other missions allow the players to rework their fortifications and start their defense again if the objective is destroyed. Maps will frequently have optional objectives that are discovered through exploration, such as human survivors that need help. Completing these successfully earn immediate in-game rewards such as resources, weapons, and traps. Missions themselves may provide bonus objectives, such as completing the mission within a certain in-game period, using a limited number of fortification pieces, or saving more survivors than the minimum necessary, which affects the quality of rewards the players receive after the successful completion of the main mission.
During missions, players can make their fortifications from one of three base materials (wood, brick, and metal), and in a number of configurations, including floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, and ramps; players have the ability to edit these for more configurations, such as adding a door or window to a wall. Each fortification part can be upgraded with more resources of the same type to improve their durability, and when they are damaged, it can be repaired by spending additional resources. Traps, which have a limited number of activation before they fall apart, can be placed on floors, walls, and ceilings, and arranged in means to make them more lethal or effective against husks. Traps may also include beneficial resources for players, such as healing pads, defender posts, and launch pads. Similarly, players can use a range of weapons but these have limited durability that drops as they are used or as a penalty if the player should be downed by husks and need to respawn without the help of allies. Players can construct new weapons, ammo, and traps from gathered resources, or find these from searching containers across the map. During missions, the game progresses through an accelerated day-night cycle; during the day, the husks are more passive and do not generally pose immediate threats, while during the night, bands of husks may spawn in and will aggressively seek out players.
One unique mission type is Storm Shield Defense missions. In each of the four world locations, the player is allocated a map that remains persistent, representing the site where their base's storm shield generator is placed, and in the storm mode, the player must return to this map to expand the storm shield, requiring them to add a new objective to defend successfully to continue the story. At any time, the player can enter this map without starting the defense mission, and use their carried-over resources to build out the fortification and traps, or add resources to a special storage area for this map.
Fortnite is also able to offer themed-events with a unique progression line, new locations, and rewards based on those themes. The first such event was its Halloween event, "Fortnitemares", that offered Halloween-themed heroes, characters, weapons, and traps (usable outside of the event) by completing numerous objectives.
The main gameplay for Fortnite: Battle Royale follows the battle royale genre's standard format: up to 100 players skydive then deploy a glider from the floating bus, known as the 'Battle Bus' onto a consistent map, which includes random distribution of weapons, shield, and other combat support features. The goal is to be the last player (or team, if playing in duos/squads) alive by killing or avoiding other players. Over time, the game's safe zone (representing the eye of a storm that is ravaging the world), decreases in size, and players caught outside the zone will take damage, potentially dying. This directs the surviving players into tighter spaces, forcing player encounters. Players can loot defeated enemies for equipment. Random supply drops will occur during a match, providing random weapons and items. Like in the original Fortnite game, Fortnite Battle Royale plays in a third-person perspective.
Fortnite Battle Royale's primary distinction from other battle royale games is the building system. Nearly all objects in the environment can be broken down into materials (wood, stone, and metal), which can then be used to build fortifications of limited durabilities, such as walls, ramps, floors, and roofs. These objects may be used to help traverse the map, protect the player from gunfire, or slow down the progression of other players.
The game is free-to-play, supported by microtransactions that allow players to buy "V-Bucks", the game's internal currency. V-Bucks are also shared with the main Fortnite "Save the World" game, which offers players the opportunity to earn V-Bucks by completing missions or daily quests. V-Bucks can then be used to buy cosmetic improvements to the player (heroes, character and weapon skins, and emotes). V-Bucks can also be used to buy Battle Passes which accelerate the rate that a player increases their Tier within the game's "seasons" (each season lasting a few months). By raising their tier, they gain automatic rewards of cosmetic items typically around a theme. Players can still increase tiers without a Battle Pass, albeit at a slower rate.
A creative mode launched on December 6, 2018, coincident with the start of Season 7 of Fortnite Battle Royale. Here, each player has access to a private, persistent island on which they construct buildings and add and manipulate objects as desired. Players are able to invite friends to this island, and participate in unofficial games such as race tracks or jumping courses. Initially, only players who bought the Battle Pass could get their own private island, but players who didn't purchase it got access to this game mode for free on December 13.
With all modes of Fortnite still considered to be early access, journalists have yet to provide comprehensive reviews of any mode.
The Save the World mode achieved over one million players by August 2017, just prior to the release of Battle Royale.
Fortnite Battle Royale became a significant financial success for Epic Games, leading them to separate the teams between Save the World and Battle Royale to provide better support for both modes. Within two weeks of release, over 10 million players had played the mode, and by June 2018, just after the Nintendo Switch release, had reached 125 million players. Revenue from Fortnite Battle Royale during the first half of 2018 had been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars per month, with total 2018 revenue estimated at $2.4 billion by analysis firm SuperData Research.
Fortnite Battle Royale has also become a cultural online phenomenon, with several celebrities reporting they play the game, and athletes using Fortnite emotes as victory celebrations. A notable streaming event in March 2018, with streamer Ninja playing Fortnite Battle Royale alongside Drake, Travis Scott, Kim DotCom, and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, broke viewership records for Twitch to date, and led to Epic arranging a Fortnite Battle Royale pro–am with 50 pairs of streamers and professional players matched with celebrities at E3 2018 in June 2018. Epic Games has developed organized esports competitions around Fortnite Battle Royale, such as the inaugural US$30 million Fortnite World Cup tournament that took place in July 2019.
There has also been growing concern over Fortnite Battle Royale's draw toward young children, emphasized with the release of the mobile client. Parents and teachers had expressed concern that students are being distracted and drawn away from school work due to playing Fortnite. Concerns have also been raised about the impact that playing a game involving repeated depictions of gun violence may have on young children.
- Fortnite season 4 and chapter 2: season 1 have been leak online early before they get fully revealed to the public. However, Thomas Hannah quality assurance tester who was sued and fired by Epic Games in May 2018 for leaking details about season 4 and the map theme before it gets revealed. In October 2019, another tester name Ronald Sykes who also works at Epic Games was sued and fired from the company for leaking details about Chapter 2 transition days before the event occurred, which included details of the map and new mechanics.
Note: The following dates are according to
- 1 million subscribers: April 7, 2018
- 2 million subscribers: June 7, 2018
- 3 million subscribers: August 10, 2018
- 4 million subscribers: October 27, 2018
- 5 million subscribers: March 8, 2019
- 6 million subscribers: July 18, 2019
- 7 million subscribers: July 31, 2019
- 8 million subscribers: November 20, 2019
- 10 million subscribers: October 21, 2020
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