Epic Quickly Created Another Game Using Another Game
Epic Games’ Fortnite initially launched as a PvE title that revolved around procedurally generated maps and unique building mechanics to carry players forward in zombie survival gameplay. Now, it’s known for its free-to-play Battle Royale mode, a mode which only required two months to build.
According to Epic’s Ed Zobrist, who spoke at a GDC panel earlier this week, development of Fortnite Battle Royale kicked off around the time the game entered early access. “We started working on this just about the time Save the World was coming out,” he said. “Two months in development, launched in September 26. So let’s do some math: Save the World, the PvE game, launched July 21. [Battle Royale] comes out September 26.”
In July, Epic had a highly polished PvE co-op experience, but they decided they needed something for the competitive player. Thus, they enlisted the aid of devs who’ve dipped their hands in arena shooters. “And it was the Unreal Tournament team that popped over to pick up the charge for us to basically put originally what we thought would be a PvP version inside our PvE game,” Zobrist added.
Today, Fortnite: Save the World is locked behind an early access free. Early on, Epic Games wanted to include Battle Royale as part of the package. Two weeks before release, however, the mode was locked in as a free-to-play experience. As you can imagine, the minimum price tag of $40 might have served a barrier to the game’s meteoric success (not to say Epic predicted their success). And at the end of it all, keeping Save the World and Battle Royale separated practically unshackled Battle Royale’s potential in the market. The rest is history; but thanks to Fortnite’s new release on iOS, the same can’t be said for its popularity.
Of course, the team who developed Fortnite Battle Royale in two months had access to assets that took years of work to create. Considering its role as a secondary game mode, the resulting success is nevertheless impressive.