How Fortnite Won the Hearts & Minds of Everyone
Be it from a fan's or critic's point of view: Fortnite is undoubtedly a pop cultural phenomenon. There is hardly any other game that had such a terrific start on international markets as the renowned cross platform player. We took a closer look at what makes Fortnite so special.
Within months after its initial release in 2017, the Battle Royale smash hit Fortnite had already conquered the hearts of millions. The huge community seemingly appeared out of thin air and just overnight, the game was all over the media.
Characteristic comic-like graphics and funny gimmicks such as the notorious Fortnite dances are the essence of the game’s charm. Besides that, the inclusion of modes for competitive and casual gameplay widened the Battle Royale’s audience.
In Solos or Duos, for example, players can profit from skill-based matchmaking to better their gameplay. The Squads mode, however, offers more laid-back and diverse rounds with opponents of all skill levels. Each match in this mode is unique, adding to Fortnite's great replay value.
Due to these reasons, even today – roughly three years after the release date – the scene is far from dead and counted over 350 million registered players in May 2020. However, despite it being the most popular part of the game, Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode had not been planned for most parts of its development.
Just another Minecraft knockoff?
Not all members of today’s Fortnite community know that the development of the game already started back in 2010. One year later, the developers People Can Fly and Epic Games released the first gameplay trailer for the mode nowadays called “Save The World”.
Originally, that was all the game should be: a cooperative survival-shooter based on a huge, customizable map. The players were supposed to pick up weapons and build structures to defend against zombie hordes – a very Minecraft-esque principle.
After six more years of gameplay trailers and constant adjustments, the game was finally released as a multiplayer shooter in 2017. A cross platformer for PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC, the game did not do too badly as it was – but the veritable breakthrough happened two months later, when Fortnite Battle Royale was released.
From there on, the game’s community exploded. With a 50v50 mode in December 2017 and further dances, outfits and weapon skins released in February 2018, the title secured its standing in the scene. The community grew even further when the mobile version was released in March of the same year. Slowly but surely, the game was also developing a whole new competitive character.
A self-made esports scene
As Fortnite rapidly grew to be a cult-game, players naturally became quite good at it. Soon, there was a competitive scene, Fortnite-exclusive streamers emerged and some players went pro and started playing in tournaments like Epic Games’ Fortnite Champion Series.
Of course, streamers like Richard Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins also do their part in spreading the passion for Fortnite. With over 16 million followers on Twitch, the American is one of the most influential streamers in the world and was even awarded an individual in-game skin for his popular Fortnite streams.
The game must go on
Three years after its release, Fortnite still entertains a huge community. However, after Epic Games violated certain terms of contract in October 2020, Apple dealt quite a blow to the game’s community by removing the mobile version from their App Store. Allegedly, this might have cost the developers about 70 million active players.
Remarkably, despite this drawback, the Fortnite scene is still not to be dismissed. Epic Games has far from given up and officially confirmed a PS5 and Xbox X Series version of the Battle Royale. And after all: It’s the community that keeps the game alive.