Fortnite’s cartoonish take on Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and similar battle royale games will be standalone and free-to-play.
In an announcement on its blog, developer Epic Games explains the studio won’t sell in-game items that provide a competitive advantage. “At some point in the future,” the post says, “we will sell other things including cosmetics or compendium-like content.”
Announced last week, Fortnite: Battle Royale features the staples of the massively popular battle royale genre, along with some of the destruction and building elements of the early access title Fortnite. 100 players are airdropped into a single large map, then fight to be the last person standing.
Players won’t be required to own the original Fortnite to play Fortnite: Battle Royale. H1Z1 made a similar move when it split into two different games, carving off its battle royale mode in 2016 to become H1Z1: King of the Kill.
Scheduled for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on September 26th, Fortnite: Battle Royale will be the first fully free-to-play battle royale game on the market (excluding mods to other games). While battle royale games have been immensely popular on PC, they have been slow to migrate to consoles. With Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds’ release date for Xbox One still a vague 2017 window, it’s likely Fortnite will get a head start.
The momentum of Fortnite: Battle Royale seems to reflect lessons learned from the development of the original Fortnite, which received its first trailer in 2011, only to enter early access six years later. By contrast, Battle Royale will move from trailer to release within the same month.
Update: According to an extended FAQ on the Fortnite blog, players who purchased the original Fortnite in anticipation of the battle royale mode can receive a refund. “If you purchased Fortnite between Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 to get access to Battle Royale,” says the FAQ, “and you would like a refund, contact us and we’ll give you one. Fortnite Battle Royale will still be available to you for free.” The FAQ also confirms Fortnite’s campaign, called Save the World, will be free in 2018.