A popular online, multiplayer game with crafting, building, survival and combat elements
Fortnite wasn't the game that started the battle royale revolution, but it's largely come to define it. Along with the darker and more realistic PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Fortnite has subverted the traditional, frenetic deathmatch model of first person shooters and the crafting and survivalism of persistent online games like Rust and combined them together into something altogether new. Players begin each match out in the wild with one simple goal: to be the last person standing. The influence from open world construction games like Minecraft is obvious. Survival means making the most of your environment, foraging for weapons and equipment but also getting the tools and supplies you need to build. There's a fast paced clip to the action, but the opportunity to create stairs, shelters, and any other number of artifice add a crazy amount of complexity to the whole affair.
The one left standing nature of the matches also adds a unique wrinkle to the traditional deathmatch formula. You only get one shot to survive, and as the bodies start falling, the space begins to close in, reducing the opportunity for camping or turtling and creating a greater sense of tension. The big open map may offer a wealth of different hiding spots when a match first starts, but as the bodies start to fall, tense showdowns become an inevitability. Fortnite sticks to the one format of play for the most part, but they manage to wring a lot of mileage out of it. Gameplay is broken down into seasons, and an immersive story plays on in the background. From falling comets to the rise of superheroes, new components are brought into the map, and immersing yourself in the game world becomes as much about exploring the secrets hidden within the map as it is about the moment to moment of the melee.
Especially worthy of note is the game's monetization model for its innovative approach to design. Fortnite is free to play, and the game eschews any pay to win mechanics. Instead, purely cosmetic items can be bought with real cash. But more interesting is the model adapted from traditional MOBAs, where a season battle pass can buy you a variety of perks. These serve as more than just a ticket to new items. They're essentially an achievement system, encouraging players to find new ways to compete in pursuit of new gear. While the fundamentals of Fortnite may be pretty simple, the game is a testament to the selling power of a good premise. Between its colorful style, reminiscent almost of the original Team Fortress, and its commitment to a simple but polished game play loop that's easy to jump into but hard to perfect, Fortnite manages to stand near the top of the pack for the emerging battle royale genre.