Fortnite is one of the most successful video games of all time, and has made an absurd amount of money for Epic Games. However, if then-Director of Production Rod Fergusson had stayed at Epic Games instead of leaving for Irrational to work on BioShock Infinite and later form The Coalition with Microsoft, Fortnite would have been canceled years ago.
Fergusson admitted as much in an interview with Game Informer that took place at E3 2019. "I would have canceled Fortnite," he said. "Before I left I tried to cancel Fortnite. [...] That game would not have passed my bar for something we should continue to keep going." It's worth pointing out that when Fergusson was working at Epic Games, Fortnite only had its "Save the World" co-op campaign mode in development, and its battle royale mode had not even been thought of yet.
Perhaps Fergusson would not have been so quick to try to cancel Fortnite had the battle royale portion been in the works at the same time as Save the World. Of course, the success of PUBG is what really sparked the inspiration for Fortnite's own battle royale mode, and it's hard to say if it would have ever come to fruition independently.
Fergusson said that people often ask him if he regrets leaving Epic Games, as he would have become ridiculously rich had he stayed at the company through Fortnite's success. However, Fergusson points out that had he stayed at Epic, Fortnite would have been canceled and therefore the game's hugely successful battle royale mode would never have existed anyway.
Fergusson also said that he is happy for Epic and the success it has enjoyed because of Fortnite's battle royale mode. Fergusson himself has kept plenty busy with The Coalition of course, and was at E3 2019 to show off the latest on Gears 5, set to be the biggest Xbox One console-exclusive of the year.
Fortnite, meanwhile, has continued to be extremely successful, with no signs of slowing down, even in the face of other battle royale games on the market. As long as Epic can keep providing map-changing events like we saw with the start of Season 9, it seems likely that fans will stick with Fortnite for the long-term.
Fortnite is out now in early access for Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.