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Fortnite for iPhone makes footsteps, gunfire visible so you can play without headphones

A clever visual indicator shows you the nearest threat

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Fortnite Battle Royale, which launched today on iOS as an invite-only test, includes visual indicators for the sound of footsteps and gunfire. The tweak is an excellent move, and makes sure that the player’s situational awareness isn’t limited by a mobile device’s meager onboard sound.

Fortnite is available now through the App Store for those with an invite from Epic Games. In playing a few rounds here at the office, one thing that we’ve noticed is the new visual cues. When you’re close to another player who is moving around, a subtle white arc will show up in the area around your character. The intensity of the arc shows how close and how loud the other player is. A similar arc, expressed with a red color, indicates the direction of gunfire.

Fortnite iOS - indicator showing gunfire from the right
Here you can see that to the right, in the far distance, someone is firing a gun. Both the footstep and the gunfire indicator change intensity based on the volume of the sound, meaning that suppressed weapons will still have good effect on iOS.
Epic Games via Polygon

Fortnite is a super fast-paced game, and knowing where threats are is key to staying alive. These arcs even the playing field between PC and console players, who have ready access to surround-sound headsets, and the average Joanne trying to get a few rounds in surreptitiously on her phone.

So far as we can tell, this feature is exclusive to the iOS version of the game.

If you’ve not yet registered for Fortnite on iOS, you can do so at Epic’s website.

Fortnite iOS - player trail
The white arc, shown to the right of the player avatar, is subtle but important.
Epic Games

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