Explainer: What is Fortnite Battle Royale?

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Explainer: What is Fortnite Battle Royale?

With more than 40 million users worldwide, billions of YouTube views, and celebrity players, Fortnite has captured the hearts of the masses.

Every couple of years we get a video game that pops through the cellophane-wrapped world of popular culture and into mainstream consciousness. 

Pokémon Go was that phenomenon in the summer of 2016, and today, the crown has been well and truly won by the bombastic, record-smashing survival co-op game, Fortnite Battle Royale.

With more than 40 million users worldwide, billions of YouTube views, and celebrity players, Fortnite Battle Royale has captured the hearts of the masses. The game has made unexpected appearances on talk show, Ellen; broke Twitch records after streaming appearances by Drake; and has most recently been crowned YouTube’s most viewed game in the site’s 13-year history.

But what is Fortnite Battle Royale, and why has it taken the world by storm? Sit back and let us tell you all about the game that keeps on growing and growing. 

Fortnite Battle Royale: What is Fortnite?

Fortnite was intended to be an ordinary zombie survival game with players coming together to try to defend against savage zombie hordes. But right around the time PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds (PUBG) came out, developer, Epic Games, changed direction. 

Similar to its spiritual successor, Fortnite Battle Royale is an online multiplayer sandbox game fashioned on the popular battle royale genre. It’s cartoony, wacky and doesn’t take itself too seriously. But what’s even better, is that Fortnite Battle Royale is free. 


 As with any typical battle royale game players, in this case, 100, are parachuted into a mysterious location where they must scavenge for weapons, supplies, armour and other gear, all while trying to avoid being killed by other players. While tackling that threat, players also have to deal with a randomly chosen safe zone they have to reach, or face being wiped out by the environment. 

The safe zone gets progressively smaller as time goes on, forcing players closer and closer together – before a new safe zone is randomly selected somewhere else. Think Hunger Games in cartoon form. 

In most battle royale games, the focus of the gameplay is often squared firmly around weaponry use and supply collection. While this is still an important aspect in Fortnite, there’s a gameplay element involving a pickaxe that makes it much more unique, and sets it apart from PUBG.

With your pickaxe, you are able to gather resources to build structures and form defences. You can build bases to defend yourself, staircases leading to mountaintops and even build quick, temporary walls to block teammates from getting attacked. It’s clever and gives Fortnite’s silly world interesting depth. 

The building mechanics really come into their own at night, when Fortnite’s monsters come out to play, a la Minecraft. If you’re not cowering in your hideout by the time night rolls around, you’re going to be in serious danger. 

And there are so many beautiful environments, from Anarchy Acres and Fatal Fields to Greasy Grove, Lonely Lodge and Junk Junction, it’s a feast for the eyes as much as a feast for the mind. 

Why is Fortnite so popular?

There’s no all-encompassing reason why Fortnite is so popular, but it can be boiled down to a few key reasons. 

Fortnite Battle Royale is free, it’s easy to play and it’s super accessible. The bright, cartoonish graphics and silly animations make it feel almost family friendly, despite the violent nature of the game’s content. Additionally, Fortnite hasn’t been plagued with the same kind of issues PUBG had at its launch. PUBG was hit with horrendous lag, extensive server drops and stuttering frame rates just after the game released.

The cross-platform compatibility of the game is another major contributing factor. Plus celebrities, high-profile streamers and talk show hosts have gravitated to it so readily.

What platforms is Fortnite playable on? 

Fortnite is available as a download on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac and now iOS, and Android-support is currently in the works. 

While you might think Fortnite on mobile devices would lose some of the gameplay elements usually afforded to consoles, that’s not the case with Fortnite’s mobile game. In fact, you can enhance the experience by purchasing a Bluetooth game controller that connects to your iOS device.

What’s better is that people playing on the PS4 can face off against players on PC, Mac or iOS devices. Xbox players aren’t able to play against users on other platforms just yet, but it’s a feature Epic has confirmed will eventually be made available. However, thanks to a long-lasting rumoured Microsoft-Sony spat, Xbox players are unlikely to ever be able to play with PlayStation players. 

How to download Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite Battle Royale on PS4

Go to the PlayStation Store on your PS4, search for Fortnite Battle Royale, and add the free, basic game to your basket. 

Alternatively, if you’re on your computer, you can download the game from the PlayStation Store website.

Fortnite Battle Royale on Xbox One

Go to the Microsoft Store on your Xbox One, search for Fortnite Battle Royale, and download it. 

Alternatively, if you’re on your computer, you can download the game from the Microsoft Store website.

Fortnite Battle Royale is also an Xbox One-enhanced game, so you can play Fortnite in all its 4K goodness.

Fortnite Battle Royale on PC

PC gamers can download Fortnite Battle Royale straight from Epic Games’ website. All you’ll need to do is create an Epic Games account, but once that’s done, you will be able to download the Fortnite installer. 

Fortnite Battle Royale on iOS and Android

Fortnite Battle Royale can be downloaded from the iOS App Store on any device running iOS 11 or later. 

An Android version of Fortnite should be coming soon.

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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