At the 2011 Video Game Awards, Epic Games announced a new game that was going to offer a mix of a Minecraft-esque builder with a Left 4 Dead style co-op shooter. The name of it was Fortnite and it looked like a fun little cooperative experience that took a humorous approach to the zombie apocalypse.
As time passed, though, news became more scarce about the game and it was reasonable to start thinking it had been canceled. Well, nearly five years since its reveal, it looks like Fortnite is finally going to see the light of day.
Epic Games' long-gestating, co-op "builder-shooter" will finally get out in players' hands with an early access launch this summer. It will launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on July 25 as a paid access title with a full, free-to-play launch planned for early 2018. There will be four bundles available that will include varying gear and boosters to get a head start. The bundles will run from $39.99 for the Standard Edition up to the $149.99 Limited Edition.
In the world of Fortnite, over 90 percent of the humanity has disappeared, and massive storms roll through the world. When the storms hit, they bring with them monsters that emerge from the ground and attack the remaining population. Players will jump in as one of the survivors trying to fight off the swarms of monsters using a variety of weapons and building forts to defend against monster attacks.
The forts are an important part of the game since these are integral to survival and in cutting down the monster swarms. Forts are built from collecting materials in the world and can be built to fit a player's desire. These can be a traditional sort of fort with vantage points and high walls to keep out monsters, or mazes lined with traps that can do all the work.
The other half of this will be the weapons. There will be an extensive loot system with guns and melee weapons at different tiers. Weapons can be crafted as well, which will help if that one heavy weapon just won't drop from encounters.
Extended development periods are not anything new in the games industry, with the average development period being two to three years. Studios such as Rockstar and Blizzard have become famous for long development cycles. When the games are consistently great, however, it's easily forgiven.
Spending five years in development from when it was announced is a bit head-scratching. However, there has been some behind-the-scenes drama between Epic Games and People Can Fly, the studio co-developing the game. People Can Fly worked on Gears of War: Judgment and Bulletstorm, during which Epic acquired the Polish studio in 2012. By 2015, People Can Fly announced it had split from Epic and was once again independent, releasing Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition through Gearbox Software in 2017.
That said, an early access release is something that could have been done years ago. Early access services have blown up thanks to Steam's Greenlight service that puts early build games out there for users to try out. Sony and Microsoft would subsequently add early access programs to PS4 and Xbox One, giving developers access to more platforms for better feedback. Given that Fortnite is going to be a free-to-play game on its full release, it could make one raise an eyebrow asking why People Can Fly didn't go that route. The only justification would be the game getting a massive overhaul from the ground up. However, given how the game looks on point with the first trailers from 2011 and 2012, that may not have been the case.
Regardless, at least the game is now coming out and E3 is about to start, giving Fortnite a big platform to lead into the July early access release.
Kevin Billings Tech Times editor Kevin Billings is a born geek at heart. Whether it's video games, movies, tv, comics, or tech, you will likely find Kevin there. And he feels gratified in his passions now that geek culture has come to dominate mainstream pop culture.