Epic Games’ Fortnite is pretty slick even at this early stage far from release. The game has a clean, cartoon look; it promises to feature a brand new twist on the same silky smooth action Epic Games has been trading in since the days of Unreal Tournament; it’s also going to be the first game from the studio behind Gears of War and Infinity Blade Dungeons that uses its brand spanking new engine, Unreal Engine 4. Have you taken a look at what Unreal Engine 4 games are going to look like? They’re bananas.
Fortnite is going to be another first for Epic Games though, this one isn’t necessarily as thrilling as the others. Just like Diablo III, Fortnite will require a persistent Internet connection to play.
In a Thursday interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Fortnite producer Tanya Jessen said that though Epic hasn’t made any final decisions, it is considering a constant connection to play the tower defense shooter hybrid.
“That’s something we don’t know yet,” said Jessen, “It’s gonna be really dependent on gameplay, and it’s also dependent on platform—the method of getting updates and stuff like that. So I can’t say for sure today one way or another.”
Multiplayer is of course a Fortnite focus. “Fortnite is a game that’s being developed as a co-op experience primarily. That’s out number one focus. This is a game you’re gonna want to play with you friends, and it’s most fun with your friends. So whatever we decide to do there is gonna be more relevant to the most fun experience you can have with your friends. But I can’t nail that down today.”
Fun is definitely a priority for Epic Games, but so is preventing its game from being pirated around the globe. Epic president Mike Capps said in April that piracy was a determining factor in the sales failure of People Can Fly’s Bulletstorm. “We made a PC version of Bulletstorm, and it didn’t do very well on PC and I think a lot that was due to piracy,” said Capps, “It wasn’t the best PC port ever, sure, but also piracy was a pretty big problem.”
Diablo III proved that it doesn’t really matter if you require a constant Internet connection, people will play the game if they really want to play it. Fortnite is an untested quantity though. Epic’s brand is strong, but Bulletstorm is a cautionary tale about how difficult it is to establish new IP. Tread carefully, Epic.