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The Making of Fortnite

Fortnite was introduced at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2011 held at the Sony Pictures Studios in California. Cliff Bleszinski, former director of Epic Games got up on stage and presented a trailer for his brand new game. Epic Games had only worked on this game for around three weeks and was required to be a creative project without any restrictions. Cliff went in with the goal of the game to be an influential alternative to Gears of War, with an inviting and colourful society that was a great difference to his foregoing game. Time had passed and no one heard about the game until 2012 when Cliff and Epic Games agreed that Fortnite would be a computer game developed using the Unreal 4 engine. But, this was a declaration that the developers of the game regretted when they voiced they could only ponder of several formats a while later.

The creation of Fortnite was scattered among a number of studios. The gaming industry started to move towards a more corporate model, where companies that funded the games would have more of an advantageous source of income in the form of in-game purchases. Tencent Holdings had bought shares in Epic Games, that resulted in a split with a few big names in the company.

Fortnite was a completely playable game in 2014, where the groundwork was there, but it would take a few more years till the game saw the light of day. Epic Games introduced beta tests to ensure the idea created with Tencent worked, and it’s worth stating that it was created the same time as Paragon was announced. Epic Games decided to focus on the most recent though, and Fortnite was on hold again.

In the early months of 2017, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released. A group of players get dropped onto an island with the goal to get out alive. This game was definitely not the first game in this genre but was the game that made it big.

It became great news when Epic Games decided to move their genre from survival to the last man standing kind of game. CEO of Bluehole, Changhan Kim, was extremely concerned at how Fortnite resembled their game, but, it wasn’t only about the genre. This had more to do with Bluehole utilising Epic Game’s Unreal 4 engine their game, resulting in large amounts of money paid to them each month. During this time, there was an open warning of lawsuits from Bluehole, but nothing ever came of it. Today, it appears to have cooled down between the developers, but we don’t know for sure.

It’s simple to name Fortnite opportunistic given that the game follows on the wave popularised by PUBG. One must also consider that the whole project started as a creative playhouse, where the intention was to test brand new ideas, and we can count on seeing more games like this in the future.


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