Epic Games recently launched a 100-player Battle Royale mode for Fortnite to feed off the growing popularity of the mode. Now, the developer announced plans to release Fortnite Battle Royale as a free standalone title next week, approximately two weeks after it originally launched.
The situation with Fortnite can be a little confusing. The game originally started with a “Save the World” PVE campaign when it launched for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC two months ago. However, this is not the full official release of the game. It is a sort of early access title with Founder’s Packs that start at $40 and run as high as $150. Epic Games plans for the game to go completely free-to-play when it officially releases sometime in 2018.
This brings us to today’s announcement that Fortnite Battle Royale will be released as a free standalone title on Tuesday, September 26. The game will feature 100 players battling it out with their building and shooting skills to be the last man standing on one giant map.
Squads will be added to Fortnite Battle Royale when it is released to free-to-play next week. The game currently supports single players, but squads will presumably add two and/or four player game modes.
Epic Games plans to eventually sell cosmetics or “compendium-like content” in Fortnite Battle Royale in the future. However, none of this will be used to grant a competitive advantage, per the studio.
Those who purchased Fortnite between September 19 and September 20, 2017, to play the Battle Royale mode will have the opportunity to request a refund. If this applies to you, go to the game’s official help page and send an email to Epic Games to request a refund. The refund request option is good for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Unfortunately, this is not a good look for Fortnite and Epic Games. The original PVE version of the game was already being criticized for being released as a pay-to-play game before going free-to-play later next year. Additionally, the community frequently hits the title for microtransactions based on random, and sometimes game-changing, items.
For its part, Epic Games says that it has no plans to abandon the base Fotnite game and plans to continue to add features and new modes to play.
Splitting a game between a popular Battle Royale mode and its original content has not always worked for the best, though. H1Z1 saw its Just Survive base game struggle and it was recently rebooted. Meanwhile, ARK: Survival Evolved spun off a free-to-play Survival of the Fittest that did not garner as much attention as anticipated and was eventually sidelined to focus on the main game.
The good news is the Fortnite Battle Royale mode has been relatively well received in the week since it was first released. Epic Games states that the public test “worked better than we expected,” so it is actually beneficial to increase the count of potential players.
Having a large player base is actually critical to Fortnite Battle Royale being successful due to the 100-player-sized matches. Players can expect long waiting times for matchmaking queues otherwise.
This should also somewhat satiate the desire for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) on consoles. The battle royale shooter from Bluehole is not due out for the Xbox One later this year and does not have a release date for the PlayStation 4 yet.
[Featured Image by Epic Games]