Every generation of consoles has that one defining game. The game that comes along and utterly changes our perspective on what is possible in the video game world. There’s likely going to be debate in some of those generations, but there’s no doubt that certain games absolutely changed the landscape of video games and changed what the future of gaming would be. Super Mario Bros on the NES showed that gaming didn’t need brutal difficulty and perfected the platforming genre. On the Nintendo 64, Ocarina of Time showed that games didn’t need to be limited. You could explore vast open spaces. On PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas took this to the next level. On Xbox 360, Minecraft showed us that worldwide multiplayer could be accessible by anyone, and still continues to be incredibly successful now. Finally, we have the eighth console generation. The Witcher 3 took open worlds to all new levels. God of War took the next step in terms of showcasing emotional connections and the power of story. But those won’t be the defining moment. This will be:
It’s no longer a video game. It’s a phenomenon. It has absolutely taken over the world from sports to pop culture. Walk into any store, book stores have ‘Fortnite Battle Royale Survival Guides’, toy stores and supermarkets have all kinds of merchandise, clothes shops have loads of licensed jumpers or tops… or even socks. Then you have the gaming retailers bursting at the seams with Fortnite branding. Even if you log onto the PlayStation Store or Xbox store you’ll be greeted with Fortnite branding everywhere. As of 3pm UK Time on a Tuesday when I’m writing this, Fortnite has 112,000 viewers on Twitch. It’s a school day. There’s most definitely even more on Youtube. Probably several on Mixer. It continues to grow. In a World Cup game, one of the biggest sporting events worldwide, France’s superstar Antoine Griezmann scores a penalty and celebrates with a dance from the video game. Marvel’s ultimate villain Thanos even made his way into the game for a special mode. The game has captured pop culture like nothing else.
And here’s the important fact: It’s a fantastic game. Undeniably. It performs brilliantly on every platform, from Nintendo Switch to mobile, to the original Xbox One and up to the highest end PC. The action is intense, the gun play is absolutely sweet and the world Epic Games has built is both stunning and interesting. They took a fledgling genre, one introduced by several other games, and sold it to the masses in a high quality package. They took the free to play model, something still relatively new on console despite mass success of fantastic titles like Warframe, and further popularized it. In fact, Epic games created a perfect free to play model. Nothing you can spend money on gives any advantage. The microtransactions are expensive but the market is dictated by value and people are clearly willing to pay. Epic has created their own economy, one that allows people unlimited customization as long as they’re willing to make the investment. Without spending a penny you still have a massive game at your fingertips, complete with progression and rewards.
We can already see the game’s influence flowing across other titles. Plenty of Fortnite clones have popped up recently. This year’s Call of Duty title had its very own unique battle royale mode, Blackout, which has been hugely successful. Red Dead Redemption 2 also has its very own battle royale mode, even tho it’s still pretty limited on the player count. It is going to be a very common fixture moving forwards. The game’s very unique style is something that other games share, it has charm on the level of Overwatch despite, unlike Overwatch, characters having zero development or personality. The game has bags of appeal just at first glance, this continues to hook new players before the gameplay really pulls them in.
Looking forward to the next generation, PlayStation 5 and ‘Xbox Two’ , expect to see a huge Fortnite influence in many, many titles.