Fortnite: Battle Royale has gone from a tacked-on multiplayer mode for a middling game into a cultural powerhouse. Gamers young and old, including celebrities, have bought into the Fortnite craze. Streamers who play the game live have garnered record-breaking viewers on Twitch and YouTube. It seems like the world has caught Fortnite: Battle Royale fever almost overnight, but why?
Part of what makes the game so appealing is its fast-paced, against-all-odds gameplay. One hundred players compete in a no-holds-barred deathmatch. Whoever comes out on top wins. The concept is similar to the immensely popular Hunger Games (or the Japanese movie Battle Royale). You only have one life, and once it's over you're out of the match.
The Battle Royale genre tends to appeal to players because of the high-risk, high-reward gameplay. Instead of being like most multiplayer modes where there's respawn and multiple lives, Fortnite ups the tension with intense competition.
Fortnite: Battle Royale isn't the first game to have this type of gameplay, though. Last year's smash hit, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) had the same 1-vs-100 Battle Royale gameplay. One of the biggest attractors for Fortnite, however, is that it's more accessible: it's free-to-play. Not "free" like those mobile games that want you to spend money on gems to do anything, either. You can play Fortnite: Battle Royale to your heart's content for the low, low price of nothing. Sure, if you start buying costumes and battle passes and whatnot, you're going to spend some serious dough (skins can cost up to $20), but all those things are entirely optional.
In addition to being free, Fortnite is available for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and iOS (and soon Android). Most US households have at least one of those platforms, and with the low system requirements, even a beat-up old laptop has a good chance of running Fortnite.
In contrast, Fortnite's closest competitor, PUBG, is only available on Xbox One and PC, with a protracted experience available on Android. PUBG is notoriously unoptimized, and can be choppy even on a high-end PC or Xbox One X. Furthermore, you have to pay $30 for the game, which is a barrier that some potential players don't want to cross—especially when Fortnite is free.Not only is Fortnite: Battle Royale accessible on a wide range of devices, it's a relatively family-friendly game. PUBG goes for a realistic artwork style and sharp graphics, whereas Fortnite is a lot more cartoony. As opposed to replicas of real-life firearms, Fortnite weapons are large and look like something out of Looney Tunes. This has the effect of making the game appealing to a broad age range, whereas PUBG is aimed towards a more mature audience. This graphic style makes it a game you don't mind playing with your kids in the room, or even letting them have a turn.
Most of all, though, Fortnite is something you can share with your friends. You can play with others, or regale each other with stories of what happened to you in game. This is further reinforced by how widely appealing the game is to anyone who wants to play. Fortnite: Battle Royale is king because Epic Games has lowered the barrier for entry about as low as it can go, and more studios should take note of just how accessible this title is for any player.