Earlier this week, Epic Games made the audacious move to take its wildly popular battle royal game “Fortnite” dark. The studio prefaced the 40-hour shutdown with an event that saw a black hole consume the title’s island setting. On Tuesday, the developer replaced the celestial phenomena with a revamped game environment called “Fortnite Chapter 2.”
Though it was a risky move, Epic made the right decision by abruptly giving its most popular game a systemic refresh. Now, the revived “Fortnite” is not only delighting current players, its enticing past users to give the title another look.
Why Epic Had to Refresh ‘Fortnite’
Ostensibly, Epic didn’t need to launch a revamp of “Fortnite.” Last year, the free-to-play game brought in a reported $2.4 billion in revenue. This year, the developer made a big play for the esports market by holding the first Fortnite World Cup. With $30 million in prize money, the competition attracted the interest of a host of pro gamers, streamers, and viewers.
Furthermore, Epic has broadened the mainstream appeal of its flagship title. Early in the year, “Fortnite” posted hugely popular virtual concerts including the likes of Marshmello and Weezer. The game also held tie-in events with the release of “Avengers: Endgame” and “John Wick: Chapter 3.” However, the two-year-old battle royale shooter has seen its popularity wane slightly.
In August, the developer annoyed the “Fortnite” faithful by introducing mecha battle suits into the game. Moreover, the frequent deployment of promotional zones caused some players to feel that the title’s world has become inundated with advertisements.
Consequently, “Fortnite” streams lost their position atop the Twitch charts to legacy games like “World of Warcraft Classic.” Besides, newer titles like “Mario Kart Tour” and “Call of Duty: Mobile” have since broken “Fortnite’s” record number of users and revenue generation.
Having built a highly profitable brand, Epic could’ve rested on its laurels like so many game developers before it. Instead, the studio took the radical step of quite literally blowing up its game and replacing it with something new. Thus far, the developer’s explosive redesign of “Fortnite” has been quite successful.
Why Gamers Love ‘Fortnite Chapter 2’
Players have been raving about “Fortnite Chapter 2” because it does something that all too few revamps and sequels do. The refresh addresses many user complaints, adds lots of compelling new content, and doesn’t introduce any game-breaking new mechanics.
Most notably, the refresh brings with it several art and graphical updates. “Fortnite’s” island setting now looks much more tangible and lush than it did before. Moreover, the redesigned game world allows players to uncover the nuances and secrets of a sprawling new territory.
One highlight is the new canal system that pervades the region. With it, gamers can spice up their matches with high-speed motorboat rocket launcher duels.
Epic also introduced a new fast queue mode with “Chapter 2.” It allows losing players to reenter the game without having to go through the lobby and reenter the line. Though a small update in the grand scheme of things, expedited queuing has the effect of making gameplay feel seamless. The refreshed title even gives teams the ability to purchase multiplayer emotes to coordinate their victory dances.
Taken as a whole, Epic has made its two-year-old battle royale title feel new again with “Fortnite Chapter 2.” With its refresh, the title has now solidified itself (again) as one of the defining video games of the modern era. Future critics and historians will likely regard it at the same level as “Super Mario Bros.” and “Grand Theft Auto.”
Plus, improbable as it may seem, “Fortnite” still has some room to grow in terms of mainstream recognition.
As Lady Gaga so wholesomely posits:
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) October 15, 2019