Epic Games took a chance on Fortnite, originally set to only be a cooperative experience that pit players trying to protect a player made the structure from waves of zombie-like creatures. After spending a long time in development, the game launched last July and wasn't the smash hit Epic was hoping for. However, once the team added the free to play PvP Battle Royale mode, things turned around and eventually the game went on to become the smash hit many know it as today. New details have emerged regarding the decision to add this mode including the surprising amount of time that it took to come together.
Speaking at a Game Developer Conference panel, Epic Games Head of Publishing, Ed Zobrist, revealed a number of interesting facts regarding the development of Battle Royale for Fortnite. After starting work on it as Save the World launched in July, it only took the developers a total of two months to bring the mode to live and put it in the hands of players. Considering the player versus player nature of the mode, the Fortnite team enlisted the help of the arena shooter experts on the Unreal Tournament team to do the heavy lifting.
Interestingly enough, Epic originally intended to place this PvP Battle Royale mode inside of the traditional, PvE mode called Save the World. While the mode is eventually going to be free to play, it's currently in Early Access so players need to pay to unlock it. Ultimately, this would have also locked Battle Royale behind a $40 paywall, which no doubt would have had a dramatic impact on its current popularity. About two weeks before its September 26 launch, Epic changed course and decided to make the mode stand alone and release it as free to play.
Fortnite's popularity and mainstream attention continue to accelerate. Recently, Not only are sports teams and players mentioning the game or performing celebrations based on character actions, but certain Twitch streamers like Ninja have gotten a lot of attention lately. Last week, Ninja broke the record for concurrent viewers of a solo streamer when he teamed up with a number of celebrities and athletes like Drake, Travis Scott, and Juju Smith Schuster during a Fortnite Battle Royale session.
Fortnite is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: GDC 18