How Epic Games almost made the mistake of ending Fortnite

The massively successful Fortnite has taken the world by storm, so it would have been a shame if somebody decided to cancel the online Battle Royale shooter in its early days.

Such a mistake almost happened, according to a podcast by Game Informer from E3 2019.

Game Informer’s Ben Hanson interviewed Rod Fergusson, who left his role as director of production for Epic Games in 2012. He now heads Gears of War developer The Coalition, which is preparing to launch Gears 5 on September 10.

“If I stayed at Epic, I would have canceled Fortnite,” Fergusson said. “Before I left, I tried to cancel Fortnite. When it was Save the World, that was a project that had some challenges.”

Epic Games initially released Fortnite in July 2017 with Save the World, a co-op mode that pits players against hordes of zombies while also utilizing the game’s building mechanics. However, it was not until September 2017 when the developer added the Battle Royale mode that the game started soaring in popularity.

“As the director of production at the time, that game would not have passed my bar for something we should have continued to keep going… That game you love, the worldwide sensation, would not exist had I stayed at Epic,” Fergusson said, adding that he was happy for the team with the success that they have achieved.

Fergusson did not elaborate on what issues Epic Games was facing in the development of Fortnite that gave him reason to consider canceling the project. It is hard to imagine a world without Fortnite though, which was one of the major driving forces that transformed Battle Royale into a worldwide phenomenon.

“Every time you press play, there’s a new experience waiting,” Fortnite design lead Eric Williamson previously told Digital Trends. “Battle Royale just provides such a great mix of highs and lows.”

Fortnite is set to soar even higher with the arrival of Nate Nanzer, the founding commissioner of the Overwatch League. Nanzer will be overseeing the game’s competitive scene, which has been besieged by cheating problems. If Nanzer is able to fix the issue, Fortnite will likely become an even bigger spectacle.


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