Fortnite has achieved monumental success, the rare game to crossover into mainstream pop culture. Fortnite is referenced by musicians, imitated by athletes and reported on by news outlets. How did it achieve such broad recognition when so few games do?
Inspired by the Japanese thriller Battle Royale, Brendan Greene developed a battle royale mod for Arma 2, inspired by the zombie survival mod Day Z and the Japanese thriller Battle Royale. The mod found success in the Arma 2 community, and in 2015 Greene was contacted by Bluehole Ginno Games, a South Korean publisher, to develop it into a full-blown game. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds paved the way for the battle royale genre in America.
Meanwhile, Epic Games was experimenting with multiple projects in the post-Gears of War era. The favored project was an online battle-arena game called Paragon, but they were hard at work on a little project called Fortnite. When they saw how successful PUBG was, they pivoted their workforce to capitalize on the battle royale phenomenon. The result was a stylish, well-designed product that reflected Epic’s extensive experience in the industry.
No one single thing catapults a game into the cultural spotlight; it’s a matter of smart, timely moves, a well-built and unique product, and a little bit of luck. Watch the video above to learn more about Fortnite’s path to success.