A NITE TO REMEMBER
We chat with fortnite’s design lead Eric Williamson
GamesMaster: First of all, congratulations on how well the game is doing. Fortnite is officially GM’s favourite battle royale game! Eric Williamson: Thank you! GM: How did the idea to create the battle royale spin-off mode come about?
EW: The Fortnite team had experimented with PvP modes a few times during the development and they were a lot of fun, but eventually they shifted focus on the PvE to make sure that was really solid coming into what would eventually become the paid Early Access period. Some time last year, the idea of bringing some kind of PvP back into the game came up again.
The team had been enjoying a lot of different types of last-man-standing games, and thought it might be a cool idea to experiment with that formula, but using the unique action-building elements that were already in Fortnite. We started that work in July and it showed very early on that there was promise, so we were really excited to get it out to players as soon as we could to start getting feedback.
GM: What expectations did you have for how popular the Battle Royale mode would be, and what the fan reaction would be?
EW: There weren’t any real expectations… we’d hoped players would have fun, and we’d wanted to get feedback from them early so we could iterate on it and improve it if players enjoyed it.
GM: There are other battle royale games about, but Fortnite’s the popular one. Why do you think it’s been such a smash hit?
EW: This is hard question to answer, because there a lot of things at play. But we’d like to think that our guiding principle that ‘fun’ should drive our decisions -- whether we’re talking about adding new weapons of gadgets, new skins, or new game modes -- has certainly helped. GM: What’s it been like behind the scenes dealing with such a huge spike in popularity?
EW: Well, we wanted feedback from players, and there’s certainly no shortage of people telling us what’s working, what isn’t, and what they want more of. Of course, also making sure our servers can handle all of it has been a challenge, and we’re making good progress on that. GM: What are your plans for the future of Fortnite? Any additions?
EW: We have some cool surprises in store. We’ll keep listening to players, updating the game and adding new items, limited time modes, and more. GM: We’re looking forward to them!