fort­nite batt le royale

Sur­vival shooter is en­joy­ing meteoric pop­u­lar­ity, and we’re still go­ing back for more

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - CONTENTS - Chris Burke

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.

Die easy

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”

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