You’d be forgiven for not knowing Fortnite even existed until now. It was originally announced by Epic Games way back in 2011. Some said that was too hasty a decision as the original reveal came after just three weeks of development. Then Epic had Paragon to prioritise. Now, the build ‘em up cum wave survival game, Fortnite, has its chance to shine in the spotlight.
Each of Fortnite’s procedurally generated maps will pit players in a post apocalyptic world, ridden with storms. Where there’s rain, there’s zombies… or whatever these human husks are supposed to be. Bullet fodder for you and your team. The aim of each map is to build defenses around a storm inhibitor called Atlas. As players battle their way through this cartoonish world, evocative of Team Fortress 2, they will be working towards ridding the world of monsters and rescuing its remaining survivors. It may all sound like serious stuff, but Fortnite is anything but.
While the tongue in cheek humour may not be of the level of Team Fortress 2, Fortnite is definitely taking the same paths in game design. Only, there seems to be a big departure for Epic Games in this release. Not only are they experimenting with this new style (which couldn’t be any further from the likes of Unreal Tournament or Gears of War), but every match will be in two halves. A building phase and a combat phase. Fortnite plays on the stereotypical gamer’s hunger for loot. Smashing items around the world, belching forth resources magically flying into your seeming bottomless backpack may seem a little…silly. But that’s fine and as soon I saw it, my first thought was “ah lovely. It’ll be that kind of game”.
After waiting this long for Fortnite, it’s nice to see just how polished the game is shaping up to be. Combined with Epic’s staple Unreal Engine 4, the cartoonish style means Fortnite won’t start aging for sometime. Yet, it’s not just holding its own graphically. Outlander, Mechanic, Soldier and Ninja are four separate classes with different pros and cons. If done well, it should make for a mechanically well balanced game that encourages co-op and good communication throughout each match.
Fortnite Comes With Questionable Developer Decisions…
Yet, it seems almost every game release comes with a smattering of controversy these days. Fortnite is sadly no exception. On a detailed hands-on with Ars Technica, problems with procedurally generated levels seemed to persist. Important locations were a struggle to defend properly when they ended up meshed into a non destructible environment. It could be argued that “pay to win” elements are creeping their way in as well. Not such a big deal applied to a co-op game, as opposed to competitive. But where Epic may receive some flak from the community, is their odd marketing scheme.
From July 25th, their free to play game… won’t actually be FREE to play. No, not until sometime in 2018. This may be the force of some heated comment threads if Epic decides to continue their micro transaction plan in the pay to play period. Wouldn’t it be better to make some of the loot crates available on release? Then unveil more after the free to play release? We’re not sure how we feel about this odd marketing plan. How would you handle things? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.