Games of the Decade: Fortnite’s flexibility is the future of live games

November 29, 2019
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There’s something going on at Risky Reels. Cars are leaving Fortnite’s drive-in theatre, its screen now showing a test card for… something. After the game’s enormous black hole reboot in October this year it almost feels quaint. Once again, Fortnite is setting its stage for something new, shuffling parts of its world around like pieces in a chess game, in position for whatever big play comes next.

It’s growing harder and harder to remember Fortnite’s origins. Not just those early days before its battle royale mode launched when it was another game entirely, but even those early seasons and, as the weeks pass since its previous island setting was slurped into another dimension, bits of that too. Because change is the only constant in Fortnite, a game happy to knock down and rebuild everything it’s made out of as quickly as a missile to one of its late-game towers, put up in seconds by players bunkering down for the next shootout.

As I look around at other games which clearly want to be Fortnite – or rather, be as nimble, as experimental, make as much of a cultural impact as Epic’s extraordinary live game – it is its breathtaking flexibility and speed of change which stands out. Two and a bit years in and Fortnite has already gone through a full reboot, following a packed 10 seasons which saw its world build up to and absorb an ice age, a volcano, a meteor impact, a kaiju fight, pirates, zombies and a trip to the future – and move on to the next thing just as quickly after.

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