Fortnite is a sci-fi sandbox-survival third-person shooter developed (in conjunction with People Can Fly) and digitally published by Epic Games as an early access title for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac on July 25, 2017. The early-access XONE and PS4 versions were also released in retail format on July 25, 2017 by Gearbox.
Running on the studio's signature Unreal Engine 4 game engine, Fortnite utilizes numerous exploration, scavenging, crafting, and constructing elements from other sandbox-survival games (such as Minecraft and Rust) with two distinct multiplayer-focused game modes:
- "Save the World", the game's main co-operative campaign. Up to four players can band together as unique Heroes and co-operate on missions in procedurally-generated landscapes. Players can earn new weapon schematics, trap schematics, and upgraded Heroes by completing missions and opening loot chests.
The game is set in a near-future contemporary Earth, where a mysterious and chaotic storm has engulfed the planet, dropping zombie-like creatures that put the world in an apocalyptic state. The remaining survivors have found a way to shield locations from the storm (using special field generators known as "Storm Shields") and must find survivors, resources, and a way to repel the storm completely.
The Battle Royale mode of the game was later released as an early access title for iOS devices on April 2, 2018 and for the Nintendo Switch on June 12, 2018. An Android version in development.
Unlike most games in the "battle royale" genre, each weapon in the game can be found in one of numerous different color-coded "rarities" (grey Common, green Uncommon, blue Rare, purple Epic, and gold Legendary). Higher-rarity weapons have an increase in damage dealt, along with a slight improvement in another stat (usually reloading speed).
- Pistol (C,U,R,E,L) - Semi-automatic. The Epic and Legendary versions, known in-game as the Suppressed Pistol, have a noise-cancelling suppressor equipped.
- Submachine Gun (C,U,R) - Fully-automatic. Was "Tactical Submachine Gun" at one point and had an Epic variant instead of a Common one.
- Suppressed Submachine Gun (C,U,R) - Fully-automatic. Slower firing rate, but has a noise-cancelling suppressor equipped.
- Minigun (E,L) - Fully-automatic with a windup time. Requires no reloading.
- Revolver (C,U,R) - Semi-automatic. High-powered with a slow rate-of-fire.
- Assault Rifle (C,U,R,E,L) - Fully-automatic. Slower firing rate than the SMGs with more per-bullet damage and more effective range. Rarer versions have a unique weapon model.
- Burst Assault Rifle (C,U,R,E,L) - Fires in three-round bursts.
- Drum Gun (U,R) - Fully-automatic. Faster firing rate and higher magazine size than Assault Rifles, but with a longer reload time and less per-bullet damage.
- Light Machine Gun (R,E) - Fully-automatic. Higher magazine size than the Drum Gun, but with an even longer reload time.
- Scoped Assault Rifle (R,E) - Fully-automatic. Improved accuracy and zoom distance at the cost of slower rate-of-fire and less damage-per-shot.
- Thermal Scoped Assault Rifle (E,L) - Fully-automatic. Although it has the slowest firing rate out of all Assault Rifles, its scope has a longer zoom distance and shows enemies and chests in thermal vision.
- Dual Pistols (E,L) - Semi-automatic.
- Hunting Rifle (U,R) - Bolt-action. Unlike other Sniper Rifles, the Hunting Rifle does not use a scope.
- Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle (R,E,L) - Bolt-action. Deals incredible damage (knocking out unarmored enemies in one shot), at the cost of a very slow rate-of-fire.
- Semi-Auto Sniper Rifle (E,L) - Semi-automatic.
- Hand Cannon (E,L) - Semi-automatic. Similar to the Revolver, it has a slow rate-of-fire.
Shells 'n' Slugs
- Tactical Shotgun (C,U,R) - Pump-action. Fastest firing rate of the three shotguns, but with wider spread for close ranges.
- Pump Shotgun (U,R) - Pump-action. Despite having less range, a lower ammo capacity, and a slower firing rate, it deals significantly more damage.
- Heavy Shotgun (E,L) - Pump-action. Slowest firing rate of the three shotguns, but with tighter spread for longer ranges.
- Rocket Launcher (R,E,L) - Single-shot. Fires in a straight line and deals incredible damage (knocking out unarmored enemies in one direct blast).
- Grenade Launcher (R,E,L) - Semi-automatic. Fires in a downward arc and deals incredible damage (knocking out unarmored enemies in one direct blast).
Since the game's beta, some of the game's arsenal has been put "in the vault" and shelved, meaning that they cannot be obtained in normal play.
- Submachine Gun (C,U,R) - Fully-automatic.
- Guided Missile (E,L) - Single-shot. Similar to the Rocket Launcher, only with slower-moving rockets that are controlled directly by the player (leaving them unable to control their own character while the missile is in the air).
Limited Time Modes (BR)
Along with the standard Squads (where players can form four-man "squads"), Duos (where players can form two-man "duos"), and Solo (completely free-for-all) playlists, Epic has regularly released limited-time event playlists (called LTMs, or Limited Time Modes) that alter the standard formula.
- 50v50 - First made available on December 7, 2017, 50v50 is a Squads playlist that splits the game lobby into two equal teams (of up to 50 players each). It was later improved upon by having each team drop from their own Battle Bus at opposite sides of the island, having the storm circle located in-between, and heavily increasing the ammunition and resources.
- High Explosives - First made available on December 28, 2017, High Explosives is a Squads playlist where the only weapons that can be found are those that use the Rockets ammo type. Traps are disabled and grenade items are easier to find.
- Sneaky Silencers - First made available on January 5, 2018, Sneaky Silencers is a Squads playlist where the only weapons that can be found are those with suppressors. Traps are disabled and the Bush item is easier to find.
- Sniper Shootout - First made available on January 29, 2018, Sniper Shootout is a Squads (later Solo and Duos) playlist where the only weapons that can be found are Revolvers, Bolt-Action Sniper Rifles, and Semi-Auto Sniper Rifles. It was later changed by replacing Revolvers with Hunting Rifles and Crossbows, and later changed by replacing Crossbows with Scoped Assault Rifles and Thermal Scoped Assault Rifles.
- Shooting Test - First made available on February 5, 2018, Shooting Test is a playlist used for publicly testing alterations to weapon accuracy and recoil.
- Solid Gold - First made available on February 27, 2018, Solid Gold is a Squads (and later Solo) playlist where the only weapons that can be found are those with the Legendary rarity. Rocket weapons can only be found in Chests.
- Teams of 20 - First made available on March 8, 2018, Teams of 20 is a Squads playlist that splits the game lobby into five equal teams (of up to 20 players each). It was later improved upon by having each team drop from their own Battle Bus at different points of the island (their paths forming a hexagon). Later used Final Fight rules (where the final circle instead triggers a end-of-game countdown timer).
- Blitz - First made available on March 19, 2018, Blitz is a faster-paced Squads playlist with much shorter Storm times (with the circle closing in from the start), improved overall loot spawn, and increased resources from loot/harvesting. It was later improved upon by having the Battle Bus enter from a lower height.
- Infinity Gauntlet - First made available on May 8, 2018, Infinity Gauntlet is a cross-promotion with the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War. A faster-paced Solo variation of the Blitz playlist, players fight over possession of a singular Infinity Gauntlet. Once a player has the Gauntlet in their possession, they transform into the powerful supervillain Thanos and have access to both a variety of unique attacks (including a super-jump, an electrical blast, and a mighty punch) and a high amount of vitality (with shields that regenerate after each kill), at the cost of being unable to build nor carry items. To counter Thanos (and to hasten the game's pace), players have an easier time finding higher-grade loot.
- Close Encounters - First made available on May 25, 2018, Close Encounters is a Squads playlist where the only weapons that can be found are Pump Shotguns and Tactical Shotguns. In addition, Jetpacks and Heavy Shotguns can be found in Chests.
- 8 Teams of 12 - First made available on June 27, 2018, 8 Teams of 12 is a Squads playlist that splits the game lobby into eight equal teams (of up to 20 players each). Later used Final Fight rules (where the final circle instead triggers a end-of-game countdown timer).
- Playground - First made available on June 27, 2018, Playground puts a single squad into the map to train, explore, and create. Friendly fire is on (with players respawning after being eliminated) and resources are heavily increased.