Fortnite is a sci-fi sandbox-survival third-person shooter developed (in conjunction with People Can Fly) and digitally published by Epic Games as an early access title for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac on July 25, 2017. The early-access XONE and PS4 versions were also released in retail format on July 25, 2017 by Gearbox.
Running on the studio's signature Unreal Engine 4 game engine, Fortnite utilizes numerous exploration, scavenging, crafting, and constructing elements from other sandbox-survival games (such as Minecraft and Rust) with two distinct multiplayer-focused game modes:
- "Save the World", the game's main co-operative campaign. Up to four players can band together as unique Heroes and co-operate on missions in procedurally-generated landscapes. Players can earn new weapon schematics, trap schematics, and upgraded Heroes by completing missions and opening loot chests.
- "Battle Royale", a free-to-play player-vs-player mode added on September 26, 2017. Similar to other survival-shooters (such as PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS and H1Z1), each match has up to 100 players dropping into a large uninhabited island, where they must scavenge for weapons/items and fight (with no respawning) to become the last team standing.
The game is set in a near-future contemporary Earth, where a mysterious and chaotic storm has engulfed the planet, dropping zombie-like creatures that put the world in an apocalyptic state. The remaining survivors have found a way to shield locations from the storm (using special field generators known as "Storm Shields") and must find survivors, resources, and a way to repel the storm completely.
Unlike most games in the "battle royale" genre, each weapon in the game can be found in one of numerous different color-coded "rarities" (grey Common, green Uncommon, blue Rare, purple Epic, and gold Legendary). Higher-rarity weapons have an increase in damage dealt, along with a slight improvement in another stat (usually reloading speed).
- Pistol (C,U,R,E) - Semi-automatic. The Rare and Epic versions, known in-game as the Suppressed Pistol, have a noise-cancelling suppressor equipped.
- Submachine Gun (C,U,R,E,L) - Fully-automatic. The Epic and Legendary versions, known in-game as the Compact SMG, have higher magazine size and per-bullet damage (with slightly slower firing rate).
- Minigun (E,L) - Fully-automatic with a windup time. Requires no reloading.
- Assault Rifle (C,U,R,E,L) - Fully-automatic. Slower firing rate than the SMGs with more per-bullet damage and more effective range. Rarer versions have a unique weapon model.
- Burst Assault Rifle (C,U,R,E,L) - Fires in three-round bursts. Rarer versions have a unique weapon model.
- Six Shooter (U,R,E) - Semi-automatic. Firing from the hip "fans the hammer", trading precision for a faster firing rate.
- Scoped Assault Rifle (R,E) - Fully-automatic. Improved accuracy and zoom distance at the cost of slower rate-of-fire and less damage-per-shot.
- Heavy Assault Rifle (R,E,L) - Fully-automatic. Slower firing rate than the Assault Rifle, but deals more damage-per-shot.
- Suppressed Assault Rifle (E,L) - Fully-automatic. Deals slightly less damage than the Assault Rifle, but has a noise-cancelling suppressor equipped.
- Thermal Scoped Assault Rifle (E,L) - Fully-automatic. Although it has the slowest firing rate out of all Assault Rifles, its scope has a longer zoom distance and shows enemies and chests in thermal vision.
- Hunting Rifle (U,R) - Bolt-action. Unlike other Sniper Rifles, the Hunting Rifle does not use a scope.
- Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle (R,E) - Bolt-action. Deals incredible damage (knocking out unarmored enemies in one shot), at the cost of a very slow rate-of-fire.
- Hand Cannon (E,L) - Semi-automatic. Similar to the Revolver, it has a slow rate-of-fire.
- Heavy Sniper Rifle (E, L) - Bolt-action. Slower reloading time than the Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle, but deals more damage (knocking out half-armored enemies in one shot), has less projectile bullet drop, and can destroy any structure in one shot.
Shells 'n' Slugs
- Tactical Shotgun (C,U,R) - Pump-action. Fast firing rate, with wider spread for close ranges.
- Pump Shotgun (U,R) - Pump-action. Higher damage than the Tactical Shotgun, but has a lower ammo capacity and slower firing rate.
- Heavy Shotgun (E,L) - Pump-action. Slow firing rate, but with tighter spread for longer ranges.
- Double Barrel Shotgun (E,L) - Break-action. Smallest ammo capacity, but deals incredible damage at close ranges.
- Grenade Launcher (R,E,L) - Semi-automatic. Faster-firing than the Rocket Launcher, but its explosives fire in a downward arc.
- Rocket Launcher (E,L) - Single-shot. Fires missiles in a straight line and deals incredible damage (knocking out unarmored enemies in one direct blast and destroying structure parts easily).
- Quad Launcher (E,L) - Multi-shot. Similar to the Rocket Launcher, sacrificing explosive damage for the ability to fire four rockets in quick succession.
Since the game's beta, some of the game's arsenal has been put "in the vault" and shelved, meaning that they cannot be obtained in normal play. Some weapons can be found in Playground mode.
- Suppressed Submachine Gun (U,R) - Light. Fully-automatic. Slower firing rate, but has a noise-cancelling suppressor equipped. Available in Playground.
- Revolver (C,U,R) - Medium. Semi-automatic. High-powered with a slow rate-of-fire.
- Drum Gun (U,R) - Medium. Fully-automatic. Faster firing rate and higher magazine size than Assault Rifles, but with a longer reload time and less per-bullet damage.
- Light Machine Gun (R,E) - Medium. Fully-automatic. Higher magazine size than the Drum Gun, but with an even longer reload time. Available in Playground.
- Dual Pistols (R,E) - Semi-automatic. Available in Playground.
- Semi-Auto Sniper Rifle (U,R) - Heavy. Semi-automatic. Available in Playground.
- Guided Missile (E,L) - Rockets. Single-shot. Similar to the Rocket Launcher, only with less-damaging slower-moving rockets that are controlled directly by the player (leaving them unable to control their own character while the missile is in the air). Available in Playground.
Limited Time Modes (BR)
Along with the standard Squads (where players can form four-man "squads"), Duos (where players can form two-man "duos"), and Solo (completely free-for-all) playlists, Epic has regularly released limited-time event playlists (called LTMs, or Limited Time Modes) that alter the standard formula.
- 50v50 - First made available on December 7, 2017, 50v50 is a Squads playlist that splits the game lobby into two equal teams (of up to 50 players each). It was later improved upon by having each team drop from their own Battle Bus at opposite sides of the island, having the storm circle located in-between, and heavily increasing the ammunition and resources.
- High Explosives - First made available on December 28, 2017, High Explosives is a Squads playlist where the only weapons that can be found are those that use the Rockets ammo type. Traps are disabled and grenade items are easier to find. Was later changed to Fly Explosives with the addition of enhanced Jetpacks.
- Sneaky Silencers - First made available on January 5, 2018, Sneaky Silencers is a Squads playlist where the only weapons that can be found are those with suppressors. Traps are disabled and the Bush item is easier to find.
- Sniper Shootout - First made available on January 29, 2018, Sniper Shootout is a Squads (later Solo and Duos) playlist where the only weapons that can be found are all Sniper Rifle variants (including Hunting Rifles).
- Shooting Test - First made available on February 5, 2018, Shooting Test is a playlist used for publicly testing alterations to weapon accuracy and recoil.
- Solid Gold - First made available on February 27, 2018, Solid Gold is a Squads (and later Solo) playlist where the only weapons that can be found are those with the Legendary rarity. Rocket weapons can only be found in Chests.
- Teams of 20 - First made available on March 8, 2018, Teams of 20 is a Squads playlist that splits the game lobby into five equal teams (of up to 20 players each). It was later improved upon by having each team drop from their own Battle Bus at different points of the island (their paths forming a hexagon). Later used Final Fight rules (where the final circle instead triggers a end-of-game countdown timer).
- Blitz - First made available on March 19, 2018, Blitz is a faster-paced Squads playlist with much shorter Storm times (with the circle closing in from the start), improved overall loot spawn, and increased resources from loot/harvesting. It was later improved upon by having the Battle Bus enter from a lower height.
- Infinity Gauntlet - First made available on May 8, 2018, Infinity Gauntlet is a cross-promotion with the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War. A faster-paced Solo variation of the Blitz playlist, players fight over possession of a singular Infinity Gauntlet. Once a player has the Gauntlet in their possession, they transform into the powerful supervillain Thanos and have access to both a variety of unique attacks (including a super-jump, an electrical blast, and a mighty punch) and a high amount of vitality (with shields that regenerate after each kill), at the cost of being unable to build nor carry items. To counter Thanos (and to hasten the game's pace), players have an easier time finding higher-grade loot.
- Close Encounters - First made available on May 25, 2018, Close Encounters is a Squads playlist where the only weapons that can be found are Pump Shotguns and Tactical Shotguns. In addition, Jetpacks and Heavy Shotguns can be found in Chests. Grapplers were later added.
- 8 Teams of 12 - First made available on June 27, 2018, 8 Teams of 12 is a Squads playlist that splits the game lobby into eight equal teams (of up to 20 players each). Later used Final Fight rules (where the final circle instead triggers a end-of-game countdown timer).
- Playground - First made available on June 27, 2018, Playground puts a single squad into the map to train, explore, and create. Friendly fire is on (with players respawning after being eliminated) and resources are heavily increased.
- Steady Storm - First made available on August 7, 2018, Steady Storm is a Squads playlist that has the storm closing in to one central point from the start. Although the storm moves slowly, it is more damaging and does not display the final point on the map.
- Soaring 50's - First made available on August 15, 2018, Soaring 50's is a Squads playlist that builds on the 50v50 playlist. Increased Impulse Grenade, Launch Pad, and Bounce Pad spawns, and players can deploy their glider manually by jumping while mid-air and at least 10 meters off the ground.
- Score Royale - First made available on August 23, 2018, Score Royale is a Solo playlist where players score points by opening loot, killing enemies, and collecting coins scattered throughout the map. First player to reach the point limit (or the last player standing) wins.
- Solid Gold 50v50 - First made available on August 28, 2018, Solid Gold 50v50 is a Squads playlist that builds on the 50v50 mode by having only Legendary weapons spawn.
- The Getaway - First made available on September 6, 2018, The Getaway is a Squads playlist where squads race to retrieve one of four unique Jewel items on the map (which are found in special supply drops) and bring them to one of four Getaway Vans near the center of the storm. Safes and Getaway Vans show up in the mini-map, while players who pick up the Jewel will be visibile on the mini-map for 30 seconds. Players holding the jewel get health and shield regeneration, but have slower movement speed. Weapons are only found in the Rare, Epic, and Legendary rarities. Rifts and Launchpads disabled.
- Soaring Solos - First made available on September 18, 2018, Soaring Solos is a Solo playlist where players can deploy their glider manually by jumping while mid-air and at least 10 meters off the ground.
- Disco Domination - First made available on October 10, 2018, Disco Domination is a Squads playlist that combines 50v50 mode with the Domination mode from Unreal Tournament. Teams attempt to capture "Dance Floors" scattered around an area of the island by emoting in them uncontested, each of which slowly add to the team "Dance Bar". First team to have a full Dance Bar wins the match. Respawning is enabled until the storm has completely moved in (which also triples the amount of points added to the Dance Bar). Glider Redeploy is also enabled.
- Fortnitemares - First made available on October 24, 2018.
- Team Terror - First made available on November 6, 2018