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Fortnite is an online video game developed by Epic Games and released in 2017. It is available in three distinct game mode versions that otherwise share the same general gameplay and game engine: Fortnite: Save the World, a cooperative shooter-survival game for up to four players to fight off zombie-like creatures and defend objects with fortifications they can build, Fortnite Battle Royale, a free-to-play battle royale game where up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing, and Fortnite Creative, where players are given complete freedom to create worlds and battle arenas. The first two game modes were released in 2017 as early access titles and Creative was released on December 6, 2018. Save the World is available only for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, while Battle Royale has been released for those platforms and additionally for Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android devices. Playing either Fortnite game requires an Epic Games account on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch. Playing on PS4 or Xbox does not need an Epic Games account, as players are identified by their PSN or Xbox Live username instead.
While the first two games have been successful for Epic Games, Fortnite Battle Royale became a resounding success, drawing in more than 125 million players in less than a year and earning hundreds of millions of dollars per month, and since has become a cultural phenomenon.
Currently, Fortnite is distributed as three different game modes, using the same engine and has similar graphics, art assets, and game mechanics.
Fortnite: Save the World is designed as player-versus-environment game, with four players cooperating towards a common objective on various missions. The game is set after a fluke storm appears across Earth, causing 98% of the population to disappear, and the survivors to be attacked by zombie-like “husks”. The players take the role of commanders of home base shelters, collecting resources, saving survivors, and defending equipment that help to either collect data on the storm or to push back the storm. From missions, players are awarded a number of in-game items, which include hero characters, weapon and trap schematics, and survivors, all of which can be leveled up through gained experience to improve their attributes. Fortnite Battle Royale is a player-versus-player battle royale game for up to 100 players, allowing one to play alone, in a duo, or in a squad (usually consisting of three or four players). Weaponless players airdrop from a “Battle Bus” that crosses the game’s map. When they land, they must scavenge for weapons, items, resources, and even vehicles while trying to stay alive and attack other players, eliminating them. Over the course of a round, the safe area of the map shrinks down in size due to an incoming storm; players outside that safe area take damage and can be eliminated if they fail to quickly evacuate. This forces remaining players into tighter spaces and encourages player encounters. The last player, duo, or squad remaining is the winner. Fortnite Creative is a sandbox game mode where players are given complete freedom to create anything they want on an island, such as battle arenas, race courses, platforming challenges and more. Epic Games reviews some of the most popular creations from Creative and rotate these into the Battle Royale map in an area called “The Block”.Featured creations are also shown in the “Creative Hub.”
In the first two modes, players can use a pickaxe to knock down existing structures on the map to collect basic resources that are wood, brick, and metal. Subsequently, in all modes, the player can use these materials to build fortifications with, such as walls, floors, and stairs. Such fortification pieces can be edited to add things like windows or doors. The materials used have different durability properties and can be updated to stronger variants using more materials of the same type. Within Save the World this enables players to create defensive fortifications around an objective or trap-filled tunnels to lure husks through. In Battle Royale, this provides the means to quickly traverse the map, protect oneself from enemy fire, or to delay an advancing foe. Players are encouraged to be very creative in designing their fortifications in Creative.
All game modes are set to be free-to-play titles, though, as of 2019, Save the World is in early access and requires purchase to play. The first two games are monetized through the use of V-Bucks, in-game currency that can be purchased with real-world funds, but also earned through completing missions and other achievements in Save the World. V-Bucks in Save the World can be used to buy pinatas shaped like llamas to gain a random selection of items. In “Battle Royale”, V-Bucks can be used to buy cosmetic items like character models or the like, or can also be used to purchase the game’s Battle Pass, a tiered progression of customization rewards for gaining experience and completing certain objectives during the course of a “Battle Royale” season.