The Rise of Fortnite Battle Royale

Amy Gildert explains how the sandbox shooter has won its Victory Royale over the genre

Amy Gildert
1st May 2018

Epic Games seems to have hit the jackpot with the sudden popularity of Fortnite, a sandbox shooter that everyone and their mother seems to be talking about. Fortnite was originally a co-op zombie game; however, the mode that’s got everyone buzzing lately is Fortnite Battle Royale.

In this mode, 100 players are dropped into an arena, and battle it out until only one player is left standing. Now, this concept isn’t entirely new (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is undeniably the OG when it comes to the battle royale mode), but Fortnite’s success definitely isn’t simply a copycat hit. Fortnite combines the battle royale element of PUBG with sandbox gameplay, meaning that players can create structures in the game from materials they source in the arena. The game has exploded in popularity over the last six months, but my question is, why?


One of the major factors in Fortnite’s popularity is its “streamability”


Well to start off with, Fortnite is completely free to play. Of course, it features in game purchases, but the basic content is 100% free, which means it is an inherently accessible game to play. This is particularly relevant to players who might not have the cash to drop on more expensive shooters, especially if they’re new players. By making the game free, they’ve widened their potential market to literally anyone with a PC, console or smartphone.

However, I think that one of the major factors in Fortnite’s popularity is its ‘Streamability’. Fortnite is a genuinely entertaining game to watch, and knowing this, Epic Games placed a lot of focus on YouTube sponsorships and streaming. When you have an audience that is already watching, it’s easy to get them to play, especially when the game is free to try. Curiosity lures them in, and the addictive nature of the game gets them to stay.


No matter your gameplay style, Fortnite encourages creativity and versatility


But the real reason that the game is so entertaining to watch and play is because there is such a large amount of emphasis placed on creativity. In a battle royale, no game is ever going to be the same, and the building element really allows the player to shape the world around them to make a unique match.

When you’ve got ninety-nine other players, weekly updates, and an assortment of crazy weapons and strategies, each game manages to feel fresh, which is why they’ve managed to keep so many players hooked. Players might become builders and make enormous forts, or perhaps take a slightly more Ramsay Bolton approach and hunt down as many other players as they can. No matter your gameplay style, Fortnite encourages creativity and versatility, which has definitely contributed to its popularity.

Ultimately, Fortnite’s success is surprising but not illogical. Any game that delivers a fresh take on multiple genres, as well as appealing to accessibility and creativity deserves to have its moment in the spotlight.

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