As Fortnite nears its third year on the market, Epic Games is doing everything it can to pump new life into the popular battle royale title. The massive — and incredibly successful — Travis Scott concert was only the tip of the iceberg, as Fortnite recently introduced a new mode to its already robust offerings. It revolves around listening to music, hanging out with friends, and partaking in some low-stakes competition. The mode is called Party Royale, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen in the entire genre — let alone Fortnite.
Epic Games’ latest addition to Fortnite is an odd mixture of different activities. The fun started on May 8 with a concert featuring Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki, and deadmau5. Players who jumped into the action will have immediately noticed that the concerts took place on a completely new island. Party Royale gives all these players free rein to explore to their heart’s content, all without the threat of a shrinking circle or enemy players.
That’s right — there’s no dying, or even health bars, in Fortnite: Party Royale. Instead of blasting each other to pieces, Party Royale participants just chill out, listen to some music, and join in on various activities scattered around the island. It’s very much a social experiment and not so much a game. If you recall PlayStation Home from way back in 2012, that’s the sort of vibe given out by Party Royale.
As of now, there are no future events planned for the space. On May 9, however, there was a rebroadcast of the live premiere concert. We’re sure something big is in the pipeline, but Epic Games is being tightlipped about where it plans on taking the new space. Although with a name like Party Royale, it’s only a matter of time before Fortnite hosts another concert.
Right now, one of the coolest aspects of Party Royale is the new island players can explore. Whether you’re jamming out to music pumping from the futuristic concert hall or cruising around a racetrack, there’s a lot for gamers to unpack. The map isn’t nearly as large as the Battle Royale island, but for what it is it’s well designed.
And while the island doesn’t have lethal weapons, players can still pick up a few items from vending machines scattered across the different landmarks. These include paintball guns, paint bombs, and crash pads. They’re fun to mess around with, and if you gather a bunch of friends you can even hold an impromptu paintball match. It’s also the perfect space to show off all the skins you’ve acquired over the years, as you can change your appearance on the fly using several booths located throughout the map.
For complete newcomers to the world of Fortnite, Party Royale offers them a risk-free environment to become acquainted with some of the game’s primary mechanics. While they won’t get to build anything, they can still work on their aiming skills, learn how to drive vehicles, and hone their parachuting abilities.
If you’re looking for something a bit more structured, Party Royale already offers a surprising number of activities for players to enjoy. There are five types of challenges scattered across the island, and although many of them are similar, they still give players a relaxing break from the battle royale action. These include:
- Glider Drop: Head to one of several Glider Drop icons on the map and you’ll be able to teleport high above the island. Several rings will appear, and it’s your job to glide through each one on the way down.
- Time Trials: Race through different checkpoints on foot! Some might require you to stock up on items ahead of time — such as crash pads — otherwise, you’ll have a hard time reaching the end.
- Wave Dash: Like Time Trials, Wave Dash is its sea-based cousin. Players will hop into a boat and race around the island as fast as they can.
- Quad Dash: Hop on an ATV and cruise around the island. There are structured races — where players much hit each checkpoint in the allotted time — and competitive races, where you’ll have the chance to take one massive lap around the island as you compete against others.
- Soccer: This activity is a bit more freeform than those listed above. Party Royale island contains a soccer field that keeps track of each team’s score. It’s fun to play one-on-one, but the more people you pack onto the pitch, the more fun you’ll have.
It’s difficult to say what’s in store for Fortnite’s Party Royale mode, but so far it has been a resounding success. Not only is the new mode chock-full of fun little diversions, but it’s also a well-thought-out social experiment. Fortnite has an immense player base, ranging from dedicated streamers to casual fans playing from their mobile phone. A laidback, low-stakes social experiment is the perfect way to continue to branch out its already broad appeal.
What better way to relax with your friends across the globe than by running around as Deadpool and listening to a livestreamed concert? Party Royale is a bizarre hodgepodge of content, yet Fortnite somehow manages to pull it off. As more and more features are introduced to the party, we can only expect things to keep heating up.
Expect the experiment to continue when Fortnite launches on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox One later this year. The title will also be transitioning to the latest Unreal Engine — and if that’s not something to celebrate, we don’t know what is.
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