Fortnite – the game everybody loves to hate. Between people complaining that PUBG is better (it’s not, it’s just different) and people complaining that it’s for children and/or real gamers play other games (they don’t, ‘real’ gamers play whatever they enjoy), it’s kind of entertaining that Fortnite is still the most popular game on the planet.
It’s pretty solid, has a unique look, gets frequent content updates and is free-to-play without any pay-to-win mechanics in it. For what it’s worth, that’s pretty good work from the dev team. It’s even more impressive when you consider that making the game only took a couple of months.
After Epic Games shipped Fortnite’s Save the World mode, their PVE campaign that’s going free-to-play later this year, they started working on their PVP mode. The PVE game wasn’t as popular as they’d hoped, and was quickly eclipsed by the PVP one.
Save the World was launched in July 21, and on July 25, the work on the PVP campaign started. We can only imagine that the team spent those days recovering from the hangovers from the launch party. Anyway, the Battle Royale mode followed on September 26, a ridiculously quick turnaround.
Although the original team worked on the PVP mode as well, they had some help – the Unreal Tournament team joined in to help them, as some of the Fortnite team were also still working on the PVE mode.
“And it was the Unreal Tournament team that popped over to pick up the charge for us to basically put originally what we thought would be a PVP version inside our PVE game,” Epic Games’ Ed Zobrist said during a GDC 2018 panel. Initially released in 1999, Unreal Tournament was a very popular first-person shooter that received critical acclaim – the graphics, level design and gameplay were all praised, and rightfully so. Clearly, these guys know what they’re doing, and clearly their influence did the game a world of good as well!
Originally, the game wasn’t supposed to be free at all – it was supposed to be just another game mode for Save the World, meaning that players would have had to pay $40 just to play it. No doubt the fact that it is free to play has something to do with its popularity which isn’t a bad thing – not every gamer has the spare cash to buy games all the time, and that’s fine too.
The decision to launch it as a free-to-play game came only two weeks before the launch – in other words, a month and a half after they started working on it. “I doubt any major publisher could have pulled off this kind of pivot in the time we ended up doing it,” Zobrist added. He’s not wrong – AAA games often take years to go through development, and since they’re almost never free and all but never as popular as this one, it’s not hard to see why these guys are proud of their work.
Even with new content being added constantly, the game started out pretty solid, with an acceptable amount of bugs and glitches. Not to name names, but other Battle Royale games should take some notes on that and not port their games before they’re even out of Early Access. That much for being petty, but the fact remains: The Epic Games team pulled off something really astonishing here, and we’re really happy that they did it this way, or we may have missed out on a really cool game – with the Save the World mode not doing so great, it’s unlikely the game would have taken off the way it did, and a large amount of players would have probably never heard of it at all.