You know a video game has made it when ITV daytime programme This Morning posts on its Facebook page asking parents if their kids are addicted. You can be doubly sure when that post attracts almost 60,000 comments. In this case the game is Fortnite: Battle Royale, a bright, brash multiplayer shooter. It was released last year, and is now one of the biggest online games out there, drawing mounting concern from the mainstream media.
With more than 200m players worldwide, the chances are either your children or their friends are already passionate fans. For some, that fandom may well be bordering on obsession. Should you be worried? Here’s what you need to know about the game.
What is Fortnite: Battle Royale?
In short, it’s a mass online brawl where 100 players leap out of a flying bus on to a small island and then fight each other until only one is left. Hidden around the island are weapons and items, including rifles, traps and grenade launchers, and players must arm themselves while exploring the landscape and buildings. It’s also possible to collect resources that allow you to build structures where you can hide or defend yourself. As the match progresses, the playable area of land is continually reduced, so participants are forced closer and closer together. The last survivor is the winner.
Where did it come from?
Fortnite was originally released in July 2017, but it actually started out as a four-player cooperative survival game set on a postapocalyptic Earth. Players had to build shelters and defend themselves against marauding zombies. Later in the year, however, the game’s developer, Epic, noticed the huge success of PC title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), which pits 100 players against each other in a last-man-standing battle. PUBG was highly influenced by the Hunger Games novels and by the Japanese movie Battle Royale, and it’s sold over 30m copies worldwide. Duly inspired, Epic decided to release a new version of Fortnite featuring very similar gameplay. Hence, Fortnite: Battle Royale.