April 12, 2018
A storm overwhelms the world. The perpetrator? None other than a battle royale style video game created by Epic Games. The obsession with Fortnite has grown, from artists like Chance the Rapper to NBA All-Star Andre Drummond logging in. The worldwide obsession developed by Epic Games, known as ‘Fortnite,’ has earned some popularity. It has been seen everywhere from Youtube and Twitch, but USA Today and Fox News as well.
Fortnite, released on July 25, 2017, has players fight off hordes of cartoon-looking zombies and protect their base from attack. It had gone under the radar for the most part, not receiving much attention until September 26 of the same year. The developers released “Fortnite: Battle Royale” for free on Xbox, Playstation, as well as PC. This alternate version of the game changes up the core gameplay of ‘base defense.’ It turned into a ‘battle royale’ game, inspired by ‘hunger games’ modes for Minecraft and ARMA 2 mods.
In Fortnite: Battle Royale, the players must survive on an island with 99 other real people. After they parachutes out of a flying bus, they must use various weapons and equipment at the their disposal to eliminate their opponents, and they have to do it quickly. Those who play Fortnite will find “The Storm” closing in on them, a giant purple bubble that slowly closes in on the island, pushing the players close together.
Sophomore Alec Brown explained, “You’re trying to loot, or get items, around a huge map, and you try to be the last man standing.” The player can also collect resources from the environment around them, able to break down everything from street signs to entire houses. These resources to construct structures to help achieve victory, building a massive tower to get the higher ground or building a makeshift bridge to cross a lake.
But Fortnite is not the only battle royale game in the recent media. The closest competitor, ‘PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds’ (PUBG), developed by the PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Bluehole Studio Inc. The two games feature similar battle royale experiences, except PUBG costs $29.99, whereas Fortnite costs. “PUBG is a very good game, but I clicked with Fortnite a little more, and a lot more of my friends play Fortnite than PUBG,” explained sophomore Josh Nichols.
Fortnite has a system of micro-transactions, minor additional content players can purchase with cash. Players can purchase V-bucks and trade them in for unique costumes for their characters to wear. “I have spent probably $60 on the game,” admitted sophomore Nick Pope. These allow players to transform themselves into anything from a menacing cyborg astronaut to a giant pink teddy bear. Players can also equip their character with different parachutes and backpacks, as well as unique taunts that the character performs at the press of a button.
The developers reported the game having around 40 million total players, and 3.4 million simultaneous players in one weekend, as of February 2018. According to Superdata Research, an analytics firm dedicated to gaming, the game generated $126 million dollars in the month of February alone. On popular streaming site Twitch, a platform that allows people to stream their favorite games, streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins earned a whopping 628,000 concurrent viewers. He did this with the help of rappers Drake and Travis Scott, as well as Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith Schuster on March 14. On March 12, Epic Games also released a port to mobile devices allowing fans to access the game via their mobile devices, which has raked in roughly $1.5 million.
The developers released a blog post at the end of 2017 discussing their plans for the game. The post talks about improving game audio, improved servers, more cosmetic items, improvements on the map, and more weapons. Fans will have to see if Epic Games follows up on their promises this year as the developers prepare for the highly anticipated “Party Royale” at E3, an annual convention for gamers and game developers nationwide, on June 12 of this year. The future of Fortnite and Epic Games will change drastically, for better or for worse.