fortnite batt le royale
Survival shooter is enjoying meteoric popularity, and we’re still going back for more
My squad are gone, and I’m crawling in the dirt, the dread footfall of another player getting ever closer. I brace for the inevitable execution, and curse my panicked aim. We were so close, but it’s not the end of the world. Although yesterday
was— a comet smashed into Fortnite’s island-arena and significantly changed the map, and now here I am in a crater with an idiot doing a robot dance over my corpse.
For those not resident of Earth,
Fortnite is a cartoony co-op survival shooter with base-building elements, and a massively popular 100-player PVP mode called Battle Royale.
Helping to keep things fresh, the game is run in ‘Seasons’; updating regularly with new weapons, costumes, and other mostly cosmetic things like emotes and dance moves, and the end of Season 3 was a spectacular event for its ever-growing community. The comet had been visibly in-bound for a while, and as it got closer to the rumored target of the city-block noob-cull that is ‘Tilted Towers’, meteorites were breaking the atmosphere and exploding all around, adding an apocalyptic schadenfreude to the usual carnage there.
But, when the dust settled, Titled Towers stood, while other locations had instead been leveled, and cool new features unveiled.
My four-player squad headed first for what was Dusty Depot, now a huge crater with a space rock at its center surrounded by military porta-labs. This being new, seemingly all other 100 players are there too. Glowing rocks lie strewn around, allowing you to superjump, adding to the madness—but soon enough it’s back to the Battle Bus for more punishment.
In Battle Royale, I die A LOT. I have never actually won, and sometimes the playing field seems far from level, yet I still go back. As much as I also love the game’s co-op Save The World mode, with its bright aesthetic, den-building, and Husk-blasting joy, not for nothing has Battle Royale captured imaginations. It’s fun, furiously so, and success is deeply satisfying. But winning this game really isn’t everything. Most of the time I just make it my business to survive. Go where no one else is going; stock up on gear; run away and wait it out. Move with the storm and snipe players from distance—I have a tendency to panic at close quarters and shoot people ineffectually in the knees. Cowardly yes, but these tactics at least keep me alive. So parachuting back in, this time we take a more cautious approach and head for the brand-new ‘Rusty Reels’ drive-in cinema, where only two of us survive a sniper ambush. It’s looking hopeless, but as we continue towards the storm’s shrinking center, we skirmish with other squads, building for cover, and employing a ‘boogie bomb’ that makes enemies dance helplessly while we pick them off.
The player-number counter is ticking down, and suddenly it’s us and them—the last two squads. It’s tense, and we’re outnumbered. But then quickly it’s down to me and him. He’s gunned down my friend, but I’d just killed the last of his and grabbed his loot-drop, an ‘epic’ shotgun; I lock and load and blast him in the chest, gasping in exhilaration as I realize what’s happened. I’ve won my first
Battle Royale! I’ve only been playing for eight months! Cue the silly dancing… this is the best feeling ever.
“The player-number counter is ticking down, and suddenly it’s us and them—the last two squads”