Fortnite: Battle Royale is a game that has bounced into the gaming scene, stealing the spotlight from major FPS competitors, particularly Activision’s Call of Duty WWII. But what is it that makes the game so enjoyable? Of course, the concept, albeit not an original one, (but we won’t get into that) is incredibly thrilling: One hundred players drop into the map, scavenge for supplies and fight to be the final survivor, as a brutal storm slowly decreases the play zone, forcing head-to-head engagements. The satisfaction of overcoming ninety-nine opponents is one of the best feelings in gaming, but what else as helped Fortnite to be so successful?
Let’s start with one of the more obvious ones – it’s free. Jumping onto either console or PC, you can take part in the Battle Royale mode for free. No obligations, no payments, for free. Also, there are no game-changing items locked behind a pay-wall, Fortnite: Battle Royale features cosmetic only micro-transactions, putting the big spenders and the players who are reluctant to splash out in the exact same position. It’s a scenario gamers have been asking for for years now, eradicating pay-to-win techniques and relying purely on player skill – Fortnite does this perfectly. This ultimately comes down to the games’ fantastic developers.
Epic Games have done such a great job in not only making Fortnite as accessible as possible but also making sure the game is updated frequently. And by frequently, I don’t mean every month or so, Epic Games send out updates weekly. Each week either a gameplay tweak, new item or weapon, or in the case of this weeks update, map changes are sprung into Fortnite. None of the changes so far have ruined the original concept of the game, which Epic Games have worked very hard to preserve. Furthermore, in-game changes such as new weapons are available to all players – none are given special treatment – everything can be found in-game, by anyone.
Not only is Fortnite a fantastic game, it’s making a statement in the gaming community. Epic Games are taking traffic away from competitors such as Call of Duty and this is incredibly evident on YouTube. Big gaming channels that usually play Call of Duty are instead uploading Fortnite videos, promoting it over other FPSs. This will really hurt companies such as Activision, and will hopefully be a turning point in modern gaming. Activision has been heavily criticised over the past few years for their approach to micro-transactions and DLC items. At launch, £45 could get you Call of Duty WWII. This price, however, does not include the season pass with the additional maps – this costs £40. So £85 will give you access to Call of Duty WWII and all of its maps, but not to additional weapons. Weapons can be crafted through Activision’s incredibly flawed casino-like Supply Drop system, where players essentially gamble their cash in the hopes of receiving a weapon. On the contrary, Epic Games are showing developers how to properly treat your fans, and that you shouldn’t exploit loyal fans by pushing them to paid DLC content.
Despite not having to, or being pressurised into doing so, I myself have paid for some of Fortnite’s cosmetic items. Why? Because I’m incredibly happy to give my money to support Epic Games – a company who cares so significantly about their players and fans.