5 Changes That Transformed Fortnite into the Biggest Video Game in the World

Fortnite sure seems like the most popular video game in the world these days. With each passing update, the behemoth only seems to grow larger. But how did we get here? What decisions did Epic Games make to take Fortnite to the top of the public consciousness? These are the five changes that transformed Fortnite into the biggest game in the world.

5. Playground Mode/Creative Mode

Fortnite has always celebrated the creativity of its players. That functionality was core to its original incarnation and has been preserved into battle royale because of the ability to build in-game. Epic Games' first experiment in giving battle royale players free reign to build outside of combat came in the form of Playground Limited Time Mode, originally added in Patch 4.5.

Feeding players' desire to make Fortnite their own, to build crazy, impressive, even beautiful creations in-game has played a huge part in Fortnite's lasting success.

4. World-Changing Events

Virality is the only way to reach the level of dominance Fortnite enjoys, and Epic Games actively cultivated it with its map-changing events. Epic Games began tinkering with the map in Fortnite Patch 2.2, but it wasn't until the following season that the developer began placing clues and teases in-game leading up to these cataclysmic map changes.

The scheme hit its stride with the giant purple cube that traveled the map in Season 5 before sinking into Loot Lake, sending the island into the sky and spawning monsters around the map. The "you had to be there" factor of the cube's descent into Loot Lake has motivated every map change since, keeping eyeballs on the game and players in the matches.

3. Adding the Battle Pass

The Battle Pass​ created a nearly endless incentive for players to keep playing Fortnite. Players earn Battle Pass experience by playing the game. Leveling up the pass earns them new cosmetics, but there are always more levels to reach, and more cosmetics to unlock. With the Battle Pass, Epic Games implemented one of the most powerful Skinner boxes in video games.

2. Expanding to Every Platform and Adding Crossplay

​Fortnite: Save the World released in early access on Windows, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but as soon as Battle Royale started to take off Epic Games expanded to every platform under the sun. It hit the Nintendo Switch June 12, then moved quickly to Android and iOS.

Epic Games didn't stop there. The developer pushed hard to let players interact across platforms, becoming one of the first games to match players against one another from across console lines. This expanded its pool of players massively, helping to grow and sustain its momentum.

1. Adding Battle Royale

This was the single most important change Epic Games made to Fortnite. When the game launched originally, it was a multiplayer survival game pitting players and their building abilities against hordes of zombies. Early reactions were muted in their praise. When PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS took the world by storm, Epic Games sent Fortnite to follow its lead and created Fortnite Battle Royale. The rest is history.

Photo courtesy of Epic Games

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