By Stewart Grant
Two months ago, if I heard the word “fortnight” I would have taken that to mean “a period of two weeks”. It hasn’t been a real common term here in Canada, but I heard it from time to time back when my wife and I lived in Bermuda.
That was then. Nowadays, the term “Fortnite” is everywhere, but it is with regards to a new video game that has taken the world by storm. Fortnite has nothing to do with the traditional term “fortnight”, unless we’re referring to my son’s dominant activity over the last two weeks, namely playing this game on his PlayStation 4.
If you are a young male (or maybe even if you aren’t), there’s a good chance that you’ve been obsessing over this survival game on your gaming console during the last few weeks. Fortnite has exploded upon the scene and has been smashing records as it goes.
Fortnite’s “Battle Royale” starts with 100 players, all connected to the internet through their PC or gaming console. In an apocalyptic world where most of the world population has suddenly disappeared, these 100 individuals (or alternatively two-man or four-man squads) hunt down the other participants while trying to stay alive and be the last man (or squad) standing. Survival is further complicated by a killer storm that surrounds the area and gradually forces all remaining players into a gradually smaller circle. Along the way, gamers accumulate equipment, weapons, building supplies and other resources to help reach their ultimate goal.
The intrigue of the game’s concept, plus the ability to play for free, has made Fortnite Battle Royale one of the most popular video games in recent memory. Last month, Fortnite’s servers somehow accommodated a whopping 3.4 million players concurrently (at the same time), breaking the previous record which was held by another battle royale survival game, Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds (aka PUBG).
My son Jake, like most kids these days, is no stranger to video games. He and his friends have been all over Fortnite the past several weeks. “It’s a good game to socialize and strategize with your friends,” says Jake. Along with joining up with his friends and battling in squads, they can setup a private “party line” through their PlayStations to talk and listen to each other and plan their next moves.
The game’s reach goes well beyond teenagers. Our graphic designer, Tyler Carruthers, reports that he and his twenty-something buddies have been playing tons of it as well. “It’s super addictive and a lot of fun,” says Carruthers.
While Battle Royale is available for free, the game’s creator, Epic Games, also has a version called “Save the World” that is available for purchase. Most players though, Jake and Tyler included, continue to battle it out within the free “Battle Royale version for now.
Last week, Epic Games announced that Battle Royale will be coming soon to mobile devices, in the exact same play format as currently available through PCs, PlayStation, Xbox One, and Macs. It will be coming first to iOS devices, with Android devices to follow.