‘Fortnite’ Developers Discuss the Design of ‘Battle Royale’

While the world still waits to play Fortnite on mobile, Epic Games is going around talking about how they made the Battle Royale mode work on top of the existing Save the World architecture. In case you don’t know, Fortnite initially started out as a cooperative PvE game with building elements, where players worked together to fight off the Storm and zombie hordes. However, the company wound up adding in a Battle Royale mode, and it quickly became one of the most popular games on the planet. Epic’s Eric Williamson says:

We wanted to create Battle Royale in a relatively quick timeframe. One of the things that we intentionally said upfront was that no one’s on the team’s allowed to say “what if”.

What we meant by that was that because our timeline was so short, and we wanted to create a playable version immediately, it wasn’t “hey we could do all these crazy things” it was “what can we do, and how can we get it done as quickly as possible.” It wasn’t pie-in-the-sky land. Naturally, that meant that lots of ideas we had didn’t really get fully explored.

One of the reasons Fortnite has a better reputation than PUBG at this point is because the game feels like a better-designed product at this point, with fewer bugs and issues than that title. The Save the World base is noted as an important starting point, but the studio was compelled to make some design changes compared to Save the World, such as including a more naturallly-flowing terrain.

The building is a standout aspect of Fortnite: Battle Royale, but it wasn’t clear how it would factor into the game. Williamson says

Very early on in our prototypes it was really a little unclear how players would use building. In our internal playtests, players felt initially like “why would I build a base if the storm’s going to close in and I can’t use it?”

Over time that’s evolved into “I can build cover very quickly,” or “I can build a base very quickly” and it’s considered a throwaway base—when you’re done with it you move on, you go to the next place.

Additionally, Fortnite has limited-time modes to add some unique experiences, similar to how Clash Royale [Free] has special challenges. Williamson says that “it helps keep things fresh” and that the 50v50 mode might return in some form in the future.

Check out the full interview over at Gamasutra. You can sign up for Fortnite: Battle Royale‘s iOS invite event, though we’re still waiting to hear when invites will go out.

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