Fortnite is turning into a digital amusement park

To celebrate Polygon’s 10th anniversary, we’re putting up a special issue: Next 10, a consideration of gaming and entertainment that would become over the next decade from some of our favorite artists and writers. Here, freelance writer Jay Castillo looks at the future of the industry’s closest thing to Metaverse: Fortnite.

to establish what Fortnite It may look like 10 years later, first you have to decide what it is today. This is not an easy task. Non-exhaustive list: Fortnite It is a cooperative tower defense game. Fortnite It is a very popular free battle royale game that features building mechanics. Fortnite It is also a very popular free battle royale game that has no building mechanics. Fortnite is a streaming phenomenon that has fueled the successful careers of hundreds of artists. Fortnite is esport. Fortnite It is a destination for concerts, film screenings, and talks about race in America. Fortnite It is a tool for creators to create and share their own game modes. Fortnite is a storefront that hopes to sell as many skins and cosmetics as possible. Fortnite Many consider it the closest thing we currently have to the metaverse.

It is unlikely that any of this will become simpler in the next 10 years.

“I feel like Fortnite It’s a divisive game,” says video essayist Chris Franklin, whose video for “The Party That’s a Platform” is uploaded It addresses some of these tensions, particularly between fun games, a serious event destination, and a profit-driven product. “I don’t know how they’re going to square this circle.”

Fortnite k started Fortnite: Save the WorldIt was announced in 2011 and released as early as July 2017. But this tower defense game was released in a scene dominated by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which became a huge surprise in March of the same year. In just a couple of months, the development studio Epic Games responded and released it Fortnite: Battle Royale.

battle royale eclipse quickly Save the world, and its incredible enduring popularity made it the game to beat for the next decade. “I think she’s achieved that level of cultural stickiness,” says Franklin. It is, in many ways, the Epic Games Store version of Counter Strike: Go!. This original big thing that will always be popular on that platform.” CS:GO I was Released a decade ago, it still regularly averages around 600,000 concurrent players on Steam.

The exact mechanisms of which it is composed Fortnite: Battle Royale 2032 is less clear. While the game was once defined by the inclusion of the building, it borrowed from Save the worldRecently, Epic released a no-build mode. Some like the top Fortnite Streamer SypherPK I think this mode will become increasingly popular since there is less barrier to entry. He argues that it may also have spillover effects on competition Fortnite, which revolves around building-based strategies. Because of that, esports is at a high level Fortnite It becomes increasingly mysterious to viewers, especially new ones, who play with no building whatsoever. For this reason, SypherPK expects less interest in esports in terms of viewership and players interested in competing.

more Fortnite Events, like this Ariana Grande party, seem like a safe bet.
Photo: Epic Games

No matter what the battle royale mode looked like in 10 years, it was increasingly overshadowed by it FortniteOther uses. Raf Koster, CEO of Playable Worlds who has been developing virtual worlds since 1993, anticipates the battle royale genre as a whole, and Fortnite: Battle Royale Specifically, for “fading in popularity over time”. This, he predicts, will allow these other—and perhaps new, not yet considered—patterns to take over.

Currently, the other major side of Fortnite is Creative, a sandbox that invites players to build their own games. Koster sees this as an option that is growing at a slower pace FortniteLongevity by preventing players from becoming fatigued and switching to another location. “the [battle royale] Game and social space [of Creative] Reinforce each other—when you get tired of one, you can jump into the other, and vice versa,” he says.

The creative mode is called “Future Fortniteby Aron Garst at Wired, and as with the influx of battle royale style, she’s really launched her own career. Haley Urbanus is one of those pros who only learned her design skills through experience on the inside. Fortnite. The studio she works with, Atlas Creative, has partnered with brands like Alienware and Target to make their custom maps. “I think players will grow out of battle royale and grow into creators,” she says.

Several creative maps get millions of plays, including one of Urbanus’ own, an underwater hide-and-seek game that’s been played 45 million times. At the time we spoke, Epic announced that Creative would be getting a “2.0” overhaul, though details weren’t yet available. But Urbanus thinks that could happen in the future Fortnite Players will have something close to Epic’s Unreal Engine as a tool for anyone to use.

Another big change to expect is how these games reach out to other players. “Now we have this discovery [system] It depends on the algorithm,” says Urbanos. “I would say maybe in the next five years [there could be] Something similar to the Epic Games Store but for creators.” As I mentioned, the model is currently being used in other UGC games, such as Robloxwhere creators can sell assets and games for a fee from each sale that goes to Epic.

“And then they’ll have another side where there will be other people who will build in the metaverse and build open worlds of their own,” Urbanus says. The idea of ​​the metaverse seems to lurk in the background whenever the future is coming Fortnite mentioned. A blog post by Koster explains that the metaverse goes way beyond an online world like an MMO or a multiverse like Roblox – or FortniteThe current creative status of. In short, the metaverse integrates with the real world. How do Fortnite He might approach this not entirely clear, but it’s on the table.

“[Epic Games CEO] Tim Sweeney has been very clear that this is where he sees himself Fortnite address,” Koster says. In April, Sweeney called Fortnite “An ambitious metaverse platform.” (Epic did not respond to a request for comment on its ambitions for the game’s next decade in time for publication.) Koster says the game’s popularity Fortnite And its ownership of the Unreal Engine are advantages that Epic may be able to take advantage of in this endeavour. But he thinks he still has a long way to go “in terms of things like social complexity, freedom of action, et cetera.”

And whether or not her current popularity will translate into her metaverse form becoming popular is another matter. There is no interest from the users [in the metaverse]“Really,” says Franklin.Fortnite It is popular because it is a popular video game to stream and play with friends.”

It is also popular because it has been constantly evolving since the moment battle royale It was launched just weeks later Save the world. This growth will continue in new modes. “It’s very likely that concerts and events will soon become their full method,” Koster says. Franklin also envisions a pop-up “experience” mode. “You can come here and you can see someone’s childhood home, walk through a museum that’s in Rome, and then go to the moon and relive the Apollo 11 landings.”

So what can Fortnite Looks like in 2032? Maybe how it looks now, but with more of everything. According to Franklin and Urbanus respectively, the basic ideas of battle royale Creative mode will likely continue even as details change. But Fortnite itself will expand. “It’s going to become more like a carnival, with each of these other ‘ride’ modes on the side,” Koster says. “There’s a reason we call so many amusement parks the Internet Worlds,” after all. ”

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