Fortnite Battle Royale
has joined the ranks of bona fide cultural crazes. It is and will be to the 20-teens what Cabbage Patch Kids and Rubik’s Cubes were to the 1980s: an improbable, unpredictable behemoth of runaway success.
It is not only played by millions daily, but also by way of penetrating the cultural zeitgeist, it is known far and wide among parents and TV watchers who have never so much as picked up a game controller. Even non-gaming people just know about it, and don’t even know how they know. Make sure to check out this list of popular HP OMEN Gaming Laptops to play Fortnite
But what don’t you know about this juggernaut of casual and hardcore gaming success? Here are 8 facts that you probably didn’t know about Fortnite Battle Royale.
1. Battle Royale was never supposed to be the main attraction
The game Fortnite: Save the World, a player vs. environment (PvE) co-op campaign-style third-person shooter was the game that Epic Games developed and assumed would be the main draw for players.
It features different character classes (soldiers, constructors, ninjas, and outlanders), and concerns a world overrun by rampaging monsters and zombies (called husks). It was meant to be a regular, pay-to-own game.
Some production delays in early-access development, and the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
with its last-man-standing player vs. player (PvP) gameplay model, saw Epic use the existing software and game engine to rapidly throw together a free beta-mode, supported by microtransactions, based on that idea.
In two weeks, over 10 million players were hooked. At that point, Battle Royale, the hastily slapped together PUBG clone, became the full thrust of Epic’s efforts and those “micro-transactions” were bringing in macro levels of real-world cash to the coffers of Epic Studios.
Save The World, the premium co-op campaign mode that was meant to be the main meat of the game, is now a kind of also-ran footnote. However, a free-to-play version of it will be released later this year.
2. Why is it even called “Fortnite Battle Royale”?
To answer this question, you’ve got to remember the original thrust of the game and its development.
It was a co-op survival game, where players battled non-player character (NPC) zombies and monsters, using loot and resources to build structures to keep themselves safe and the mutants at bay. These were the “forts” of Fortnite Battle Royale. Additionally, in the original conception, the players would be choosing differing character classes, with various attributes, strengths, and weaknesses.
In the Fortnite Battle Royale battle royale
model that we are all familiar with, every difference between characters is simply cosmetic. Whichever character model you’re using or harvesting tool you’re sporting is more a matter of personal style, aesthetic, and whimsy than for any in-game advantage. But in Save The World
, the various character types actually had different strengths and weaknesses.
Character attributes as an acrostic
These attributes to describe those differences were Fortitude, Offense, Resistance, and Tech. F.O.R.T. So it was a double entendre, in that fort-building against the zombie husk hordes was an integral gameplay element, and the stats that governed your character’s abilities were described by the acronym FORT.
But the name was actually a triple entendre. An early event in the game was a 14-day survival marathon, where waves of monsters poured out over two weeks. And “fortnight” is an archaic term for a two-week period.
When Battle Royale took over as the main driver of users and success, the name went from something that described the elements of the game in three different ways to having precisely zero to do with anything. But hey! “Fortnite Battle Royale” just sounds cool. And that, apparently, is enough.
3. The giant hamburger that disappeared from the map and appeared in the real world
Fortnite Battle Royale has evolved over time, with Epic rolling out consecutive “seasons” of the game, wherein the map and environments have changed. While Fortnite is not so heavy on storyline (it’s really all about leaping from a wacky flying bus and shooting everyone you see), those changes have been strung together with something resembling a backstory - even if nobody’s exactly sure on the details.
The changes are necessary to keep the game vital and fresh; not just aesthetically, but to introduce gameplay tweaks and switch up areas that become too well known and too well understood by the rabidly loyal and best Fortnite gamers
The variety also keeps people coming back; as while the game is, in essence, always the same, it is also functionally also always at least a little bit different, season to season. In one season change, mysterious interdimensional rifts began opening up on the map that allowed players to rapidly travel from one end of the map to another.
But the rifts, when they appeared, caused havoc to the area in which they spawned. They pulled familiar landmarks into them, where they were never seen again. Never seen again, that is, in-game.
One of the more iconic landmarks to be claimed as a casualty of the rifts was the big, wacky-looking burger sculpture, of the fictional “Durr Burgers” franchise, that became a kind of signature point of interest to players. In its place was a rift that allowed for rapid transit and escape. But the sign, with its googly-eyed, floppy-tongued hamburger, was nowhere to be seen.
Except when someone saw it in the real California desert, near Palmdale. After it was found and tweeted about, Fortnite Battle Royale players took road trips and flocked to see it, photograph it, and take Durr Burger-sign selfies with it.
Epic Games’ guerilla marketing stunt got even more involved. One fateful day as people showed up to see the giant burger, they were met by a mysteriously dressed agent identifying himself as Agent 3678.
He passed out pre-printed cards to everyone who had come that day, on which a phone number was printed. Calling the number resulted in mere static, but it put forth the notion that at some point, a clue about next season’s goings-on might be dropped. Reddit detectives, of course, set about calling around the clock, and exchanging different conspiracy theories.
4. Dance in front of the gargoyles for fun and profit
Around Halloween of 2018, extending into November, the Fortnite Battle Royale event “Fortnite Battle Royale mares” was released; special skins and visual changes occurred in this limited-time-only modification. One of these was the appearance of various gargoyle statues, littered across the island.
The “Fortnite Battle Royale mare” event introduced a series of challenges that, once completed, would unlock special gear and customizations. The first challenge had a series of tasks (visit this many areas during a single match, deal this much damage with a particular weapon type, etc.) that culminated in the final item on the challenge checklist: Dance (emote dance) in front of five different gargoyle statues.
Completing this lunatic scavenger hunt would reward the steadfast player with an unlockable emoticon of a green fiery face. Emoticons can be used in-game as a style move. The player model throws them out in front of them to express an emotion or sentiment. Getting a big roster of these emoticons is yet another one of various achievement paths and collections that elite Fortnite Battle Royale players concern themselves with as part of the ongoing “meta” game of cultivating their account with as many achievements as possible.
What made the dancing in front of gargoyles particularly fun was that it just looked like a combination of ridiculous and mysterious moved to players not clued in on the challenge, as they saw more and more players just busting out an Orange Justice dance before a stone statue.
And enterprising players looking to increase their kill count took to camping out near the various statues, sniping would-be dancers in easy kills while they boogied for their unlockable.
5. Speed checked by radar
Every so often, here in the real world, police will put up interactive radar signs on roads where they want drivers to slow down. As you approach them, your speed will be displayed in big LED digital-style numbers, next to the posted speed limit, to let you know you’re breaking the law.
These signs made an appearance in the Fortnite Battle Royale map last December, too, as a part of a weekly challenge. There are various drivable vehicles (golf carts, quad-crashers, shopping carts, etc.) scattered randomly about the map. One of the challenges was to post a 27-mile-per hour (or greater) speed on a bunch of radar signs in a single game.
6. Rarest Fortnite Battle Royale skins
While it may be true that all the skins, emotes, emoticons, and other customizations you can earn or buy in Fortnite Battle Royale are strictly cosmetic and don’t affect gameplay at all, it is also true that sporting the stock-standard skin flags you as a n00b.
Conversely, wearing a rare and special skin into battle is the hallmark of a dedicated player. Some of the rarest, most seldom seen outfits are:
- The Black Knight. The Black Knight skin was only available as a reward for completing the Season 2 Battle Pass challenges. Most of the millions of players who have come to play Fortnite Battle Royale came in long after Season 2 was a thing of the past, so the Black Knight skin is a badge of “OG” honor. Any time you catch a glimpse of this rarity, you know you’re looking at a player who was playing Fortnite Battle Royale before most everyone you know.
- Double Helix. This console-specific skin was not unlocked by skill, but rather by a very specific type of purchase. It is a special release only available to players who bought the Nintendo Switch Fortnite Battle Royale bundle. While the bundle was released for $299, the same price as buying a Switch with no pack-in game, it was a limited release, with only so many boxes made. And the only people who would have it were people who happened to be in the market for a Switch at the time it was released.
- The Reaper (Shh..it’s John Wick). Who is cooler and more badass than Keanu Reeves as John Wick? That’s a trick question. No one is cooler and as badass than Keanu Reeves as John Wick. But you could at least pretend to be if you managed to unlock “The Reaper” skin, which was a reward for those players who achieved tier 100 in Season 3, collecting a legendary number of player-kills, John-Wick style. (“The Reaper” isn’t OFFICIALLY a John Wick skin; it’s just a guy in a suit who looks SUPER-SUSPICIOUSLY like a death-dealing, puppy-loving Keanu Reeves.)
7. Peak zeitgeist: Holderness parody video
You know how we said above that Fortnite Battle Royale’s popularity has become so massive that even dorky parents who don’t know anything about video games know all about it?
The creepily wholesome and annoyingly attractive, yet begrudgingly amusing and talented Holderness family, who have monetized their happy-family charm through a series of YouTube videos, have gotten in on the Fortnite Battle Royale
action. They’ve released a parody of “I Gotta Feeling”
that’s about what happens when parents pick up the controllers to see what this whole phenomenon is all about.
Weird Al Yankovic should have no worries that his crown as the supreme king of cool parody songs is in any way threatened. And while the Holderness family of YouTube fame can be described as what the kids refer to as “cringey,” we must admit that this video made us smirk, despite ourselves.
8. How much money has Fortnite Battle Royale made?
For a free-to-play game, Fortnite Battle Royale
has been a figurative printing press of money for Epic Games. How much exactly? It’s A LOT.
While Epic has not officially released the figure, data and ratings giant Nielsen estimated that in the calendar year 2018 alone, Fortnite Battle Royale brought in $2.5 billion in transactions . Yes, that’s billions with a “b.”
Not bad for a game that was never supposed to have even been a thing, huh?