Fortnite’s Jessen Talks Minecraft, PC Gaming, UE4

By Nathan Grayson on July 20th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

It’s been ages since Epic last took up PC gaming’s banner and affixed some sort of completely bonkers weapon to it. Instead, the Unreal creator has been off duct-taping chainsaws to other platforms while we spill warm tears onto screenshots of Jazz The Jackrabbit. But no more. Epic recently announced that Fortnite – at least, for the time being – will be leading on PC and debuting Unreal Engine 4 to boot. So I had a massive chat with producer Tanya Jessen about that, during which we discussed Minecraft comparisons, the not-so-obvious benefits of Unreal Engine 4, Fortnite’s cartoony art style, online aspects, and why Epic never really left the PC behind. It’s all after the break.

RPS: When was Fortnite first conceived? Because I’m just going to put it out there: on paper it sounds a lot like Minecraft, but it seems like you’re taking the sandbox-y elements and shaping them into more of an actual game. So how much of it was inspired by Notch’s world-dominating world-building opus? 

Jessen: Fortnite was a game that’s existed in many forms and many ideas around the studio for a little while now – kind of as a result of people thinking about where the future of game development was heading. How are things changing?

I know at the time, one of the things I was thinking a lot about was, how do we get people with different personality types all playing together? Somebody, for example, who loves role-playing games being able to play with somebody who loves shooters. And there’s been lots of games that have tried this in the past and haven’t really succeeded, and so I was spending a lot of time thinking about that. I know Cliff [Bleszinski] was thinking a lot about more dynamic worlds, how to employ crafting and building within this dynamic gameplay, but yet have the action more integrated with it.

And that all started to culminate at a time when we were doing our game jam here at Epic. I don’t know if you heard about it, we talked about that a little bit with Infinity Blade Dungeons. Our game jam was the place where Infinity Blade Dungeons was born. And when we pitched this idea of Fortnite, the company said, “Hey, why don’t you come up with a pitch and work on some prototypes?” That was shortly after the game jam.

That was about nine months ago or so. But the ideas themselves have been around in lots of different forms for a pretty long time. It was just good timing, because we were sitting down as a company and prototyping out what some of those ideas could be. That, combined with the idea of what it was like when you were a kid – building a fort out in the middle of the woods or in your living room, all the things you had to do to scavenge for items around or protect your fort, or have fort battles with your friends – that’s really what became the core of the idea for Fortnite.

RPS: But ideas don’t form in a vacuum. So is there a direct influence from Minecraft? I’m just wondering, more so than “Oh my god, it’s clearly a clone of Minecraft.” Because obviously, it’s not.

Jessen: I mean, to be quite frank, there’s a lot of influences from a lot of different games in Fortnite. Like I was saying a little bit earlier, a number of the people on the team have a solid MMO and RPG type of background. There’s definitely some element of that in there, as well as our pedigree from making Horde and more scripted and raid-based enemy gameplay and cooperative gameplay. So there’s elements from all over the place. We’re combining them and refocusing them in a way that’s never really been seen before.

RPS: That’s just sort of a thing, too, that I’ve noticed is kind of an Epic hallmark: you’re really good at taking a mechanic that may have already existed, for instance something like the cover mechanic employed in Gears of War, and polishing it into something that really shines. I mean, Gears’ active reload system is so simple, yet utterly brilliant. Is that also what’s happening here? You’re taking these elements and saying, “How can we wring the most fun possible out of them?”

Jessen: It’s kind of more like… We’re a studio full of people that love to play the games we make. And it sounds kind of selfish, but we’re all gamers, and we all want to make the games that we want to play. So the result of what you see us putting out is often times exactly that.

In terms of our focus for the game – with the moment-to-moment in regards to combat, scavenging, and building – we want to be just ridiculously fun, no matter how much time you’re spending in the game. So everything we’re doing gameplay-wise is to support that. That’s why with building, it’s really easy and really fast so long as you have the skills and the resources to frame out what kind of structure that you want to build. But the deeper element of it is determining what kind of strategy you want to employ against the enemies when you’re defending your base, or even just to make your fort look cool.

So making that fun at a basic level is what we’re focusing on. With scavenging, it’s the same thing, where moment-to-moment it’s going to be fun, just that constant feeling of loot. What are you going to do with the items you got? What are the trade-offs you’re making as a player? But deep in the sense that it’s all based on how much you’re willing to explore the world and discover the environment around you, because our worlds are totally dynamic. Or all of your friends’ worlds that you would want to visit and find stuff in.

RPS: How open is the building system? I’ve noticed in screenshots, there are blueprints. Are you building off those? Can I also go totally freeform and mash parts together to see what works?

Jessen: It’s based on discoveries. You unlock the ability to build lots of different building types. We don’t even know the total number that we’ll be shipping with day one, because we just continue to add to it. But for example, you’ve got a few basic items, structural items, floors, walls, stairs, roofs, ceilings. And all of those have a different type of blueprint, so you can decide if you want to place walls with doors, walls with windows only, window and a door, half-length floors, floors with railings, etc depending on your strategy and what you’re trying to accomplish. The curve of the stairs, how you want to structure that. It goes pretty deep. [chuckles] And that all gets multiplied by the resource types that you can use to build those objects or upgrade those objects.

RPS: How does the structure of the game work? You were saying that I can be in my world or I can visit a friend’s world. Is it one persistent world that I’m in, or are there sets of levels?  How does Fortnite form a game around all of this?

Jessen: That’s something we’re still really iterating on and we’re really deep in design, because we have a whole bunch of different options. The idea is that you can have multiple worlds that are public or private, they can be single-player or cooperative, and you can leave those open. In other words, you can be away from your PC, and they can be running. Or you can turn them off. It’s up to you. But each of those environments will be dynamic and totally unique worlds. But in terms of the progression itself… Not ready to talk too much about that stuff. We have so many different things we’re doing where we’re iterating to find the most fun right now.

RPS: This is Epic’s first Unreal 4 game, and that caused a big stir during Comic-Con weekend. It looks really nice, and the art style is very vibrant, but it’s not like some of those trailers you’ve released where it’s something people can look at and say, “Oh my god, this is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.” So why did you decide to debut Unreal 4 with this, especially because, well, wouldn’t it be possible to create a game like this – maybe not quite as graphically intensive – and have it on current-generation consoles as well?

Jessen: There’s three or four major reasons. We had actually started prototyping the game on UE3, and the reason we decided to move to UE4 is because of the dynamic nature of the game. The tools in UE4 are completely changing, to the point where it gives a lot more control to designers and artists, to just create interactive objects in the world. That, for us, for Fortnite, that was a really great move, to be able to use the next version of Kismet. It’s called Blueprint.

For example, our skybox is built entirely in a Blueprint, and that’s the day-night cycle. All the programmers had to do was expose, you know, what time was it relevant to gameplay, and now the artists can go make all of these objects that are relevant to the time of day. So after a certain time, all the streetlights will turn on wherever you’re at. The clocks in the world tell the actual in-game time. Things like that, in the past, would have to be programmed by a coder. Now they’re all set up by our artists. Everything from how many different shaders in the colors of the sky that change depending on the night, that all now can be iterated and made awesome by the artists.

It puts so much power into our content game, wihch was huge for us. And the same with all of our enemy variants. We can set those up in Blueprint and then be able to give the power to the designers to create as many different types of enemies as they would want, based on an initial Blueprint. That’s been really good for the project as a whole. And then on top of that, because Fortnite has so many different systems and it’s really focused on fun gameplay, it allows the engine team to iterate much faster on all of the systems that are changing for Unreal Engine 4. We can get them in and try them out and that means it’s going to be a better product for licensees and everyone else who uses the engine in the future.

We know what UE4 can do [graphically]. We’ve obviously shown you what UE4 can do, and so the benefit of being able to iterate quickly and take advantage of that workflow stuff for Fortnite on UE4 was, by far, for us, such a good decision. It’s pretty much why we moved forward on that.

And also just from an accessibility standpoint, we wanted to make sure that UE4 was really accessible to people who own PCs today, that they’ll be able to run a UE4 game. So Fortnite was a great opportunity for us to push for that as well.

RPS: I think the official line after all the smoke cleared at Comic-Con was that you’re PC-only for now, with the possibility of it coming out on other platforms later on down the line. Even so, a lot of major triple-A developers would still be hesitant about launching PC-exclusive in this day and age. Do you feel like it’s back as a viable triple-A platform?

Jessen: Well, I don’t think that ever went away for us. We made games as the opportunity arose. But in particular, with Fortnite, because of its super-dynamic nature and the fact that we see this as a living project, the only platform for us that made sense was PC, and especially with turning around that quick iteration time with UE4 and all of that. It was absolutely the way to go. It’s offering us the flexibility to add things on the fly. As people are having fun with certain weapons or enemies, being able to add more of that and keep the experience really fun and fresh for people is awesome. And right now you can’t really do that so easily on consoles.

But like I said, [PC] never went away. Innovation has always been happening in the PC space. I’ve been a PC gamer my whole life, since I was like 12. That’s what got me into the games industry: my love for Unreal and Duke Nukem 3D and all of that. I don’t know if it’s really a shift so much as that the flexibility of platform is something that’s been absolutely awesome, that people are now starting to take more advantage of. Maybe it’s just the fact that with the tools now, it’s getting easier to put out games on the PC.

There’s always been millions upon millions of people playing games on the PC. Maybe it’s the fact that things are moving more towards digital distribution, and that’s helped a lot. Because that was never an option, with bandwidth constraints and all that in the past. That certainly does allow you to be able to make updates more frequently and not have to worry about it being a pain in the butt to download all the time [chuckles].

RPS: That sounds a lot like, at least in theory, a free-to-play game, where it’s continuously updating and people can pick and choose the way that they have their experience. Is that what you’re aiming for?

Jessen: Haven’t really discussed it yet. We’re doing a lot of research to figure outhow we want to release it, but we want a lot of people playing this game, and we think it’s the perfect kind of game that you’re going to want to play with all your friends. So we’ll just have to wait and see. That’s for the business guys. [laughter]

RPS: Because you’re on the PC – exclusively, for now – that obviously raises the question of piracy. That’s a big thing that’s kept developers and publishers off it in recent years. Do you have any sort of concrete plans to combat that?

Jessen: That’s not really a place, I guess, that I should talk, because once again, that’s more of a business question. Something for Mark, Mark can talk about piracy. [laughs] We’re not concerned about that right now with what we’re doing on Fortnite.

RPS: Given the opportunity, though, would you consider using a constant connection requirement, like what Diablo, SimCity, or some of Ubisoft’s games have done? I mean, obviously, minimizing piracy’s only one potential reason for that – with the others, at least, on paper, pertaining more to convenience. 

Jessen: It’s dependent more on gameplay for us, because Fortnite is a game that’s being developed as a co-op experience primarily. That’s our number one focus. This is the game that you’re going to want to play with your friends and it’s most fun with your friends. So whatever we decide to do there is going to be more relevant to what’s the most fun experience you can have with your friends [than piracy]. But I can’t really nail that down today.

RPS: It’s certainly gotten a lot of discussion lately, though – with some developers even going so far as to call it the future. Meanwhile, the downside for players is that there’s no true single-player at that point. You’re always connected to servers. Are you still hoping to have a truly single-player experience in Fortnite as well?

Jessen: Yeah, absolutely. Single-player is going to be super fun. Like I said, we’re building it to be a co-op experience, but [co-op] won’t be required in any shape or form. In particular, we’ve got this personality we call the ‘lone wolf’ – the type of person who likes to jump in and play with their friends, but not necessarily all the time. Or they like to play primarily by themselves. We are definitely making sure that Fortnite will be fun for that type of person too.

One thing we’ve learned from our experiences is that if you don’t design for co-op from the very beginning and make it a pillar of your project, then the game systems themselves don’t tend to feel solid in the co-op experience. So that’s how we’re developing the game from the outset.

RPS: So whenever that Lone Wolf type of player plays the game, will they be required to be connected to the Internet, or will they be able to just boot up wherever and play?

Jessen: That’s something that we don’t know yet. It’s going to be dependent on the gameplay. And it’s also dependent on the platform and the method of getting updates and stuff like that. Can’t necessarily say that today for sure, one way or the other.

RPS: Is out-of-the-box – or whatever the digital equivalent of a box is – mod support in the cards? 

Jessen: As a studio, especially with UDK, with PC games we’ve always tended to support the mod community. I just can’t necessarily announce anything like exactly what that is today. But I can assure you that we’re thinking a lot about it and the best way that we can implement that with Fortnite – so that it’s not just players putting stuff out there. It’s more incorporated into the game itself.

RPS: Initially, Fortnite wasn’t quite as cartoony, right? I think Cliff said during Comic-Con that early versions drew on stuff like The Walking Dead. Why’d you decide to move away from Epic’s now-signature grimdarkness? 

Jessen: Well, for us, there were two big reasons. One, because we consider this a living project, we want this to be a game that people are constantly coming back to and playing with their friends. We wanted the world to be just beautiful and awesome to be in at all times, and be able to give the world a lot more personality and flexibility in terms of doing lots of fun and crazy things in the space. One of the videos I showed was of some of our enemies and our weapons. We didn’t necessarily want to be held back by any super-serious horror fiction, things like that. We really wanted to make a more lighthearted game.

And second, that offered a great opportunity for our artists to stretch their fingers out. I’d say stretch their legs, but it’s more their fingers… [laughter] Playing around with a completely different look, totally stylized – this was very much a product that people wanted to make. It was pitched from the team. We said, “Hey, let’s do something a little bit different and totally fresh for us.” That’s been a really nice departure for those guys, to riff on a completely different look and art style. They’ve been getting a kick out of it.

Even our containers [really mattered] – because everything in the game is like a treasure chest. Everything you see can be scavenged or searched through, and you have to make decisions like are you going to take everything? Are you going to leave some things? Do these things respawn? Are you going to destroy the item itself? It’s pretty deep, but we wanted all of those objects to look really cool and fit within the Fortnite world, so that even just like… You could be in a building with nothing in it except for stuff, and you get a story of the fact that it was lived in – the people that were there. And that it fits perfectly within the world. That kind of narrative development, even just from the props and stuff, has been really fun for the team.

RPS: Ooooo, that sounds kind of like Bethesda-era Fallout. Is that what you’re shooting for – that sort of subtle environmental storytelling? 

Jessen: Because the worlds are dynamic, this has been the fun challenge for us – to be able to have that narrative, but also have dynamically created spaces. You can’t necessarily make that one-to-one, because we’re not scripting it. We’re not creating that experience for you. You’re creating that for yourself, which is what makes it that sandbox experience, you know? But it is definitely a focus in terms of the look and feel, and as a whole, on a big-picture level. Room to room, because it’s dynamically created, it’s not quite the same as, I’d say, a Fallout necessarily. But it is a big focus, to make it feel really unique and setting the tone of the world.

RPS: I read that I can upgrade my main weapon throughout the course of the game. But… can I put a chainsaw on it?

Jessen: [chuckles] So basically, the way that our weapons work is that they have gameplay modifiers, and that’s what they were talking about. We’re not going to go into any more detail there, but I’m certain that you’ll see some very interesting things [knowing laughter] once we do announce more of that stuff.

RPS: Thank you for your time.

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78 Comments »

  1. MuscleHorse says:

    I’ve seen the ‘active reload’ mechanic praised in a number of places – what exactly is it?

    Game looks great, looking forward to it.

    • Salt says:

      When pressing reload, a progress bar appears with one section of the bar highlighted.
      If you press the reload button again when the progress bar is in the highlighted section then the reload completes faster and your weapon does bonus damage.

      Much praised as it turns what would be empty downtime while you wait for your character to complete an animation into something that’s interactive and meaningful, all without taking you out of the game (as QTEs can).

    • Flukie says:

      It basically makes sure you press reload again in order to reload faster at a specific point as well as give you a temporary damage increase, if you miss that point it takes longer to reload than it would if you didn’t try and get an active reload.

      Really nice simple satisfying mechanic.

    • pakoito says:

      When you press reload, a charging bar appears. It has several chunks where it’s black, grey or white. You can click a second time to stop the bar, if it stops in black reload time is doubled, in grey the reload stops right there, in white it stops there and the first rounds in the magazine get extra damage.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Although the bonus damage in Gears was changed to more weapon-specific bonuses for the sequel, like having the sniper rifle ignore helmets, or lowering the recoil on the revolver.

    • Tei says:

      Seems a crappy mini-game built-in a shooting mechanic. *raise eyebrow* people like that?

      • NthDegree256 says:

        Absolutely. It’s completely optional (if you don’t press anything, the bar will just finish and it reloads like normal), but if you’re confident in your ability to nail the timing, you get a faster reload and a buff… and if you’re overconfident, you get a jam and take longer to reload. It’s a nice little bit of optional risk-reward that you’re frequently weighing in the midst of a firefight, and I for one would LOVE to see it in more games.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Indeed, the amount of times active reloading has saved my bacon, and the amount of times it’s stuck me in a terrible situation…
          If nothing else, if gives you a progress bar for your reloading (which is nice).

        • LionsPhil says:

          Yeah, it’s in Alien Swarm too, and it works quite nicely there.

      • DrGonzo says:

        I’m not really a fan. It could work well in a different type of game. But one that should be about cover and flanking, dealing with reload times seems like it should be a part of the game. Would make the multiplayer less about sprinting like a madman with a shotgun, and more of the tactical game it was designed to be.

        • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

          See I think becoming good at reloading a weapon should be a part of far more shooters. I mean as stated above, it’s typically just downtime when you’re vulnerable. In real-life a highly skilled shooter can reload many weapons before their respective magazine hits the ground. Receiver from the talented folks behind Overgrowth seems like an interesting model though obviously needs to be refined and considered.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        No, people don’t like that.

        AND THATS THE LAST WORD ON IT!

  2. General Frags says:

    So Epic where’s Gears 2 and 3 then? I’m disappointed :(

    • jimjam says:

      This game sounds like a late copy of Left 4 Dead…. I think I will pass.

      • JarinArenos says:

        Wow, Left 4 Dead added resource collection and building defenses rather than just running through a fixed map? That’s amazing! That’d make it almost an… entirely different… game…

    • rocketman71 says:

      Take Gears 1 without the BSODs, add a couple of filters, more macho banter and a couple of tits, and you have Gears 2 and 3.

      Not that that justifies Epic’s usual bullshit in any way or form, though.

  3. Mbaya says:

    I like the look and sound of the game and I’m quite eager to see more, but the replies seem very vague, unwilling to commit, not giving credit where credit is due (in regard to the familiarities and success of minecraft) and seems like a game being made with the core focus of putting business before gameplay, much like the recent article you did with Dusty Welch (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/07/10/ex-call-of-duty-head-on-business-vs-innovation-2/).

    It sounds tm me like the game needed to be cooking a bit more before they started the announcements, not knowing their proposed server structure sounds a bit odd, comments like “We don’t even know the total number that we’ll be shipping with day one” (in regard to buildable items) seem to indicicate they’re looking at a free to play game with microtransactions or DLC (of course, it could be free), with the current controversy of how if they add always on DRM it’ll be to enhance the gameplay…urgh, just screams marketing blah blah.

    I’m really looking forward to the game, I’m being overly negative I’m sure…maybe this is the type of game I shouldn’t follow and just wait to see how the end result turns out, every announcement so far drains the potentual ‘super fun’ out of the project for me…

    On the plus side, I’m liking what I’m hearing about the blueprints with UE4!

    • Salt says:

      Interesting. To me it sounded like she really hadn’t thought much about how the business model will work, or at least hadn’t reached any decision on it.

      Which to me is itself worrying (they just can’t catch a break!) as if it does wind up being free to play then it will have significant influence on how the game plays. If you make a super fun game and only then make the decision to turn it free to play, and so lock 80% of content behind microtransactions it’s liable to end up being a mess one way or another. Can cause balance issues where the system was designed for everyone to have access to all items, but ends up accidentally creating a pay to win scheme. Or the game turns out to just not be fun with access to content gated by money rather than exploring the world.

      It could absolutely be a good free to play game, but it really needs to be designed as such from early on in its development.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      Don’t worry, you’re not the only optimistic cynic around here. It sounds very promising, but regarding DRM questions, the answers were suspiciously evasive. Perhaps it’ll all be fine though. Who knows.

      • DClark says:

        I know I was modestly interested when the first pics were released, but the evasiveness of their DRM response has annoyed me and eliminated any interest I had. I doubt I’ll click on future links for this game unless it regards clearing up the DRM they plan to use.

        There are too many good games that don’t jerk me around with obtrusive DRM for me to consider any game that wants me to give them my money while still trying to limit my ability to play the game after they have my money.

      • JarinArenos says:

        I suspect they’re being evasive because they really WANT to do always-on DRM, but they want to see if the backlash against D3 and similar games dies down by the time they’re closer to release.

  4. drakkheim says:

    That bottom screenshot reminds me so very much of the Zombie Playground concept art by Jason Chan
    seen here.

    Which is for Massive Black’s Zombie Kickstarter

    Looking forward to both games.

  5. Wedge says:

    Lack of dynamic elements in UE3 did limit it’s practical use for certain types of games, I wonder if you could do a open worldy RPG on this engine now? Would be interesting to see what Bethesda could do with it, instead of pretending they have a “new” engine when they’ve just been hacking onto Gamebryo for the last 8 years now.

    Also props to the interviewee for not punching Nathan in the face for trying to insist this drew inspiration from Minecraft.

    • Misnomer says:

      Agree with this, seemed like he was really forcing it the second time.

      I see this game and I think of source forts and halo zombie games where people would use all the physics objects in the game to build up defenses. Or even COD Nazi zombies with the rebuilding mechanic on it. I sincerely doubt this will be as open ended as a Minecraft, it will likely have very specific types of things you can build with variations based on what you collect.

      Just seems like a few people read the feature list and decided that it must be Minecraft because of the feature descriptions. These will likely be the people who are massively disappointed when the game isn’t open world enough for them.

      The premise for the game itself sounds fun though and I like the look of the execution they have so far (Source forts in a kid world has been a dream game of mine, I just wanted to based it on snowball fights).

      • Premium User Badge

        blind_boy_grunt says:

        yeah, when i see this game i always immediately think of that free-to-play coop beat’em’up game on steam “brawl busters”. With some base building added on top.
        So on the one hand there is nathan who thinks it’s gonna be the next minecraft and on the other me who think it’s just gonna be nice coop time waster. So the thing to do would have been to answer the damn minecraft question. Yes, no, a bit, instead of just ignoring it and go into pr-speak, “we love games”, “we want to make games we want to play” etc.

    • oceanview says:

      Ofcourse its a complete rip of minecraft en they are looking like the usual dudebro douches they so love by not admitting it. Props to nathan to push the issue, because every other journo gaming site does nothing but lick heels and butts and act as just another layer of marketing for the game. On rps we actualy might see some truth even though it’s more often found in the questions than the anwsers.

      • Jay says:

        Yeah, good on Nathan for actually pushing for an answer. Have to say I’m not terribly impressed by the way the interviewee seemed to go out of their way to avoid even mentioning it by name, then steering the conversation to something else that avoided the question entirely.

    • Stardog says:

      Agreed. I wish these interviewers would shut up about Minecraft.

      If you’ve played 2 games in your life, maybe you would only see the similarities to Minecraft, but if you’ve played more…yadda, yadda, you get the idea.

      So, you borrowed this thing you call “building” from Minecraft, right? And your visuals are Team Fortress 2, right? And this free-to-play model…is that ripped from MMO’s? And this “third-person view”, clearly inspired by Fade To Black, right?

  6. Premium User Badge

    liquidsoap89 says:

    ” …we’ve got this personality we call the ‘lone wolf’. Do go on! I’d like to hear more about this mysterious concept.

    On a more serious note… I didn’t like how she (I’m assuming a Tanya is female) avoided as many of those questions as she could. I know it’s what she’s “supposed” to do, but not even saying what some of the influences for this game were really put me off.

  7. Milky1985 says:

    “We wanted PC gaming to go away so we could focus on the closed ecosystem of the console, where it is a lot easier to sell map packs without pesky people making their own maps and giving them away. But then we realized our new engine and new game won’t run on the consoles so we have come back to the PC with open arms and we promise never to do it again, until the new wave of consoles come out anyway”

    There we go translated the marketing speak for ya

    • PopeJamal says:

      Absolute truth. They haven’t even THOUGHT about the PC in years. I saw through their bull as soon as they said: “OMG guys! We’re coming back to the PC. You know we love you, don’t you baby!?!?! Take us back just one more time!”

      They can keep their forts and their constant internet DRM.

    • oceanview says:

      Indeed, like an ex gf whose new bf turned out to be a dick and now she comes crawling back. Epic will never see another dime of my money.

  8. Mattressi says:

    Did I miss something? I can’t find anything in here that seems to warrant the “always-on DRM” scare article that came up the other day. That article made it sound like they were heavily considering using always-on DRM, but this interview just sounds like the interviewee has no idea if it will or not, so they’re choosing not to speculate. It sounds a lot less like they’re leaning towards always-on DRM than the article made out.

    • Torgen says:

      I think that they’re going to mask always-on DRM with the “leave your world running so friends can join” mechanic. If I were the conspiratorial type, I’d say that resources only respawn when the game is running, and since you can trade resources/travel to other players’ games (worlds) they will have to be synchronized by a central server.

    • The Random One says:

      What I got from that is: I don’t deal with DRM. I don’t know about DRM. I don’t care about DRM. Those questions are too hard. Go talk to the DRM guy if you don’t want to talk about skyboxes any more.

  9. wodin says:

    “super fun”…sure i read those words the other day with regards to this game…”super fun” always seem to follow on from a question to do with always online..

    Last time I read such words was reading a Enid Blyton book to my daughter…

  10. mikel says:

    Is Epic pretending like they didn’t spend the last half a decade insulting PC gamers? They’ve pretty much alienated any fans they had on the platform and now they want us to buy their games again?

    • SirKicksalot says:

      If only more developers would insult PC gamers like this: http://www.unrealengine.com/udk/
      They only alienated idiots. A respectable PC gamer understands the value of their UDK support.

      • deadstoned says:

        Their UDK guys get it. Their Game developers *cough* Cliffy B don’t.

        • PopeJamal says:

          Exactly. Their game developers have been off in Dude-Bro-Console land for ages:

          “Did we release an Unreal Tournament 3? How long ago was that, I can’t remember? Who’s been supporting it? OOPS! LOL!!!!!!”

      • mikel says:

        Nobody denies the greatness of the UDK.

        But did you buy Bulletstorm, Gears of War for Windows and UT3 on release and was “really happy” to be supporting the UDK? No they were insulting pieces of shit games.

        • Voon says:

          For the record, Bulletstorm wasn’t even developed by CliffyB himself when some Polish dudes develop it first before he gets his hands on their studio. So, no. It ain’t a fresh lump of faeces you make it out to be

  11. HisMastersVoice says:

    “That’s something that we don’t know yet. It’s going to be dependent on the gameplay. And it’s also dependent on the platform and the method of getting updates and stuff like that. Can’t necessarily say that today for sure, one way or the other.”

    Google Corpspeak translated it as follows:

    “Looks like the marketing guys think it’s great idea to have that AODRM thing in so we’re trying to make is sound like it can do something for the players except for raping them in the most brutal fashion, but since we’re uncomfortable straight up lying to them at this point, we’re not going to say anything relevant. Do trust us to lie on this matter later on though.”

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      If Fortnite doesn’t have always-on DRM, I’ll eat my favorite hat.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      A game requiring an always-on internet connection is “raping [interested parties] in the most brutal fashion”?

      Some people have no perspective or capabilities for self-reflection or basic common decency. Something that is annoying to many and prohibitive to others in a fucking game that many others won’t even realise is fucking violating them in the most brutal fashion?

      I struggle to write something else, without immediately falling afoul of the ultra-prohibitive RPS censor which looks down upon even minor confrontation.

      Even if one were to accept your groutesque, thoughtless hyperbole, how the fuck does it scale up? Wrongful foreclosure is ‘end of all fucking life in the universe’?

      • MasterDex says:

        It’s hyperbole, you said it yourself, get over it. You even go into hyperbole yourself with words like “grotesque” and “ultra-prohibitive RPS censor”.

        We’ve all got our bugbears and we often exaggerate how much they annoy us. Clearly, you do too.

        On topic, always-on DRM is a violation of sorts. No means no yet they keep on f’n us over.

        • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

          Right, it’s hyperbole in calling the equivocation of less-than-ideal software access with the most brutal rape grotesque, no I seriously consider that grotesque and offensive. Also, please … it’s a fucking game, unless you choose to purchase it, it’s not going to violate you with it’s oh-so-muscular and veined DRM phallus; Oh no! It’s not letting me install this game that provides dozens of hours of entertainment on to two machines simultaneously! I- I’d rather die! Please don’t tell my children! Not… my husband… please.

          Do you even know how violation works or how it’s not hyperbole that’s innately offensive but this content in question which that technique is a part of?

          • oceanview says:

            seek help.

          • MasterDex says:

            In your offended rage, you didn’t notice that I never said that DRM violates me personally, at least not in the way you are using the word (Hint: Violation has meaning beyond rape). However, DRM, as I already said, is a violation of sorts. For instance, it can be seen as a violation of privacy, of trust and for some, a violation of consumer rights to be limited in how you can use the product you paid for – and DRM goes beyond install limits. This isn’t 2005.

            Hyperbole, by it’s nature, goes to extremities. Drawing correlations to rape, as disgusted as you may feel by such a correlation, isn’t an uncommon exaggeration in regards to the consumer-corporation relationship. Even now, I can think of several examples where such a correlation, hyperbole though it may be, would be apt in context. “Getting F’d by the man”, “They want us to bend over and take it”, etc, etc, etc.

            TL;DR: Chill out. Actual rape is horrible. That doesn’t mean our descriptive vocabulary should be limited, even if you find it offensive.

          • JackShandy says:

            “(Hint: Violation has meaning beyond rape).”

            You have missed this, but tyrone is responding to a commenter who specifically said rape. Not violation.

          • TariqOne says:

            I fucking love to be salty and edgy as much as the next New Yorker, but I really do wish gaming culture would retire some of its more offensive inanities. “Rape” is just cringe-inducing and wrong on so many levels. It’s probably the worst of a bad lot that includes “butthurt” and “teabag.”

            We’ll continue to be marginalized as a hobby for mouthbreathers so long as we continue to talk and act like mouthbreathers. “Dude he totally raped you bro! Butthurt?” indeed.

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            Violation has meaning beyond rape.

            Leaving aside the basic, diversionary condescension, in a discussion about rape as an absurd analogy for DRM where I first said ‘violation’… again, in a discussion as rape as an absurd analogy for DRM, you shouldn’t then say; “DRM is a violation of sorts. No means no yet they keep on f’n us over.” You then can’t seriously hope to throw up your hands and say, ‘What? It has a meaning beyond rape’ as if you didn’t just continue to use it that sense and try to justify this absurdity.

            It’s not even that I actually have a problem with rape as a metaphor or analogy when it comes to something substantial or at a bare minimum, appropriate such as when a corporation is said to have raped an environment. I don’t even care when someone is said to have ‘raped a classic’ in their work and do realise why? Like a victim of rape, let alone brutal rape, neither the environment nor even an inanimate work have any say in the matter.

            To be ‘brutally raped’ by DRM, you need to actually purchase which ever non-essential computer game in question to ‘experience’ this violation; “This, at best, unobtrusive, and at worst, prohibitive obstacle to enjoying this entertaining luxury product I chose to purchase is the most brutal rape a consumer could have! I now know how those Kosovars in a Dyncorp-subsidiary prostitution ring felt!” Do I need to explain further? To make this tenable; ‘rape in the most brutal fashion’ would have to entail not only inviting your rapist inside of yourself but he also bizarrely provides you with, on the whole, a superb time, though his ‘rape in the most brutal fashion’ means he doesn’t quite get you off or goes limp when you’re desperately up for it. Yes, that’s exactly ‘brutal rape’ and being told exactly what he’ll do or what he requires of you in the form of connectivity, is exactly a violation of trust.

            Why elevate these truly pathetic first-world annoyances that you must be complicit in to experience vis-a-vis fucking computer games to one of the worst things one can happen to a person? And that’s even if it made any sense to begin with. Which it doesn’t; it makes no sense, no fucking sense whatsoever.

            Finally as someone who’s close to an absolutist on free speech as is possible your right to say what you wish is not a right to be free from criticism nor abrogates my right to point out the monumental stupidity here.

          • MasterDex says:

            @JackShandy: No, I didn’t miss that. You, however, did miss this in his reply to me:
            “Do you even know how violation works or how it’s not hyperbole that’s innately offensive but this content in question which that technique is a part of?”
            Hence my reminder that violation has a meaning beyond rape.

            @Tyrone Slothrop: You’re offended, I got that from your first reply. What I’m saying is that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Even worse, you do so while being hypocritical. You accept that rape can be used as an analogy in discussion that have nothing at all to do with rape:

            “It’s not even that I actually have a problem with rape as a metaphor or analogy when it comes to something substantial or at a bare minimum, appropriate such as when a corporation is said to have raped an environment. I don’t even care when someone is said to have ‘raped a classic’ in their work and do realise why? Like a victim of rape, let alone brutal rape, neither the environment nor even an inanimate work have any say in the matter. “

            You then go on to express your indignation with HisMastersVoice over his use of it as a metaphor (because he added brutal?) without accounting for the fact that we all value things differently. For all we know, HisMastersVoice thinks that saying someone “raped a classic” is a bit too hyperbolic but cares enough about the DRM issue to feel that using rape as a metaphor is justifiable, even if to you it isn’t. See what I’m getting at here? You’ve picked and chosen your own standards for its use without considering that someone else may hold different standards. For someone claiming to hold free speech in such a high regard, you seem pretty insistent that your standards of acceptable speech be the ones adhered to.

            I’m not questioning the intelligence of HisMastersVoice’s comment, nor am I in agreement with his sentiment. I am however questioning why you felt such a strong urge to attack his comment with such fervour despite your own self-confessed acceptance of the use of rape as a metaphor or an analogy.

  12. Xardas Kane says:

    I love it how you RPS guys hunt answers down. He didn’t tell you if they were inspired by MineCraft the first time you asked? Most journalists would’ve just taken what they got, but you went straight ahead and asked again. Just a little thing, but it’s for things like these that I keep coming to this site.

    Didn’t like the interview much though. Just a typical rep, vague answers, “We don’t know yet”s and all. I could have skipped reading it and I wouldn’t have missed out on any info whatsoever.

    • roxahris says:

      It would be a nice thing if there were any real relation between Minecraft and this aside from “you build things”. Seriously? There are countless games that could have been closer to a direct influence – just because it’s the current “ooh so special and unique” thing in PC gaming doesn’t mean everything with a premise of building will draw from it. You may as well go up to someone building a house and say “So, inspired by Minecraft?”

      • Xardas Kane says:

        I am not accusing the game of copying Minecraft, overall I agree with your comment even if I think you don’t give Minecraft enough credit. But why must YOU be telling this and not the Epic guy? Why was he beating around the bush like that instead of flat-out saying yes or no? One has to wonder.

        • MordeaniisChaos says:

          Nothing is black and white duder, he seemed pretty clear in that it is neither a yes or no. Games are influenced by other games. It doesn’t need to be a point that the interviewer goes to three times. 5 minutes of coherent thinking and you’ll figure out that the games are probably going to be quite different, I mean hell, most of the similarities between the two of them, could also be drawn between Day Z and minecraft, with how vague the comparisons have been.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Yes, nothing is black and white. But there is no middle ground, either it was influenced or it wasn’t. It obviously was, since the Epic guy didn’t want to say no. But, I repeat again, there is NO MIDDLE GROUND. So his beating around the bush still makes little sense to me. As does your black and white talk o.O

      • MasterDex says:

        You mean like persistent worlds? Co-op survival mode? Procedural generation? “Mining”? Crafting?

        Yeah, nothing like Minecraft, nothing like it at all. -_-

        • MordeaniisChaos says:

          Do you realize how fucking vague and common almost every single fucking thing you just mentioned is?
          Is there actual mining? Salvaging and mining are pretty different. Are you getting blocks?
          I am incredulous that you think something like a persistent world is minecraft exclusive. Tons of games do that.
          And coop? That thing that Minecraft does kind of a poor job handling? And that Epic has focused on more and more since they started with Gears of War?
          Sure, it has similarities with Minecraft, but I’ve had the idea for a minecraft esque game in my head for ages, only it was, weirdly enough, more like the original idea for THIS game than minecraft. I love minecraft, and I’ve played a whole hell of a lot of it, and this game sounds nothing like it in how it handles or plays. Yes, if you use vague themes and not-really-mechanics, it has some similarities. Much like CoD must have ripped off halo because of it’s shooting and first person-ness.

          • jimjam says:

            Makes me think of L4D tbh.

          • MasterDex says:

            Do you realize how fucking vague and common almost every single fucking thing you just mentioned is?

            Yes, I do. I also realize how unvague and uncommon it is to find all of those plus the base building in one game. There’s no denying that this game sounds like Minecraft.
            Is there actual mining? Salvaging and mining are pretty different. Are you getting blocks?

            I don’t know if there’s actual mining but when I put mining in quotes I did so to signify how salvaging in this game could be easily correlated with punching trees to get wood, mining stones et al, gathering crops, water, lava, etc, etc. It’s the same basic idea. Use enivormental objects to gain items for crafting and building. And no, you’re not getting blocks. Having a similar concept to Minecraft doesn’t mean you must have blocks.

            I am incredulous that you think something like a persistent world is minecraft exclusive. Tons of games do that.

            I’m as incredulous as you are. I think something like a persistent world is a minecraft exclusive? First I’m hearing about it.

            And coop? That thing that Minecraft does kind of a poor job handling? And that Epic has focused on more and more since they started with Gears of War?

            See my above replies.

            Sure, it has similarities with Minecraft, but I’ve had the idea for a minecraft esque game in my head for ages, only it was, weirdly enough, more like the original idea for THIS game than minecraft. I love minecraft, and I’ve played a whole hell of a lot of it, and this game sounds nothing like it in how it handles or plays. Yes, if you use vague themes and not-really-mechanics, it has some similarities.

            It sounds very like Minecraft, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Roxahris may as well have flat-out denied any correlation to Minecraft whatsoever, I was merely pointing out how it’s not at all outside the realm of possibility that it was inspired by Minecraft because it all sounds very Minecraft-like to the casual observer. The dodging and weaving that the interviewee did when asked the question (twice) does sort of hint that Minecraft could have been a direct influence, don’t you think.

            Just so we’re clear, I don’t think Minecraft is some rose among thorns or that any of it’s features are exclusively Minecraftian. The combination of features however? I think Mojang and Minecraft deserve at least some credit for that, even if you or anyone else thought of it first.

      • Salt says:

        It’s more similar to Notch’s original plans for Minecraft than how Minecraft actually is today.

        His original plans involved teams building strongholds that would then be warped into a map where capture-the-flag and other traditional multiplayer events would take place. Minecraft’s single player and co-op experience was originally intended to focus much more on the building of (practical defensive) stuff in the day and fighting off hordes of zombies and skeletons at night. Both of which are very similar to how it sounds Fortnite will play.

        I find it hard to work up an indigent rage over someone “copying” the abandoned ideas of another developer, who has been in the perfect position to implement them if he had wanted to.

  13. Dobleclick says:

    I stopped reading the interview because that Jessen is INCAPABLE of answering one single question!!! How frustrating!!!! Is it so hard to admit that you WERE influenced by Minecraft?

    It’s manipulative, evasive, and just plain stupid. He should be punished by not interviewing this guy EVER again.

    Sorry, got kinda angry…

    • MordeaniisChaos says:

      Not everything has to be stolen duder, do you think minecraft is the first game to say “hey, let’s build stuff” or something? Not only that, but the way you build in Fortnite is pretty clearly vastly different, and the gameplay surrounding the creation is also vastly different. I say they get a pass for all of the stupid gamers and journalists saying every third person shooter in existence post Gears of War is just a rip off of said thing. On top of that, there were several times that questions were pressed when the guy was clearly not going to change his stance, so that probably makes him seem much more resilient to many of the answers that were being fished for.
      Games can be similar without ripping off others, and I think the interview was pretty unfair, constantly trying to say that Epic just complete’s the work of other developers. It’s not true at all, and it was the wrong focus for the interview.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        He should SAY it’s vastly different, he should say “No, it’s not influenced”. OP is right, the Epic guy gave absolutely no answers whatsoever, don’t defend him.

    • genearious says:

      This really doesn’t seem all that similar to Minecraft’s core ideas at all. There doesn’t seem to be any mining, it looks more like scavenging which is different, because there are specific things that can be gathered generated in certain areas. The procedural generation seems more similar to Spore then anything where you can’t actually change the world(as an animal), but the world is generated procedurally, and you’re placing things on the world possibly more like Spore’s tribal stage, where parts can be put together to create buildings. The whole monsters coming out at night seems to resemble multiple tower defense style games I’ve played, there’s probably a better popular example, but it’s common enough and its less just get inside and be safe and more of a prepare for siege and then defend against the next siege.

      Unrelated, I like to imagine that these are the same dudebros from the other games, but now with their steroids taken away they’ve lost all muscle definition entirely.

  14. Shralla says:

    Why isn’t anybody asking just how and why it is they’re launching a new Unreal Engine with no new Unreal game?

    • MasterDex says:

      In our heart of hearts, we all know the answer to that question – Unreal Tournament III.

    • MordeaniisChaos says:

      Well, for one, they aren’t launching any time soon so far as I can tell, and for another, the only thing I’d want at this point would be a remake of UT2004.

  15. RegisteredUser says:

    We’ve officially arrived at a point where wanting to have a single player, offline campaign makes you an antisocial “lone wolf”, because clearly nobody in their right mind would NOT put co-op everything at the forefront of any game development.
    Or, whatever.

    To be fair, I think a lot of nerves are lying open with the DRM stuff and the SP vs MP.
    If I had to be brutally honest for myself, I would have to say that given that I am fine with playing L4D2 solely as a 4 player co-op game, and enjoying doing that, and am willing to be online in order to connect to people not living in my city, I am also fine with other games trying to do just that.
    But then don’t pretend its an epic SP experience(which they do here).
    Be honest and say we’re making this a co-op from the ground up, it will be fun as that, and its made for that. That, in turn, to play with people online, you have to be online? Is obvious. And not DRM.
    Sure, you can play local offline sandbox(maybe with our blessing, maybe with pulling up the console and using map commands only), but there will be zero point to it.
    Nonetheless, we’ll offer it, because, well, if you’re one of those 3% that does that, joy to you.

    Then I actually think I wouldn’t have any issue with these peepz at all.

  16. RegisteredUser says:

    P.S. What on earth is the standard food and drug regimen at epic?
    She laughed so much I seriously got worried, because I felt no reason to be joyful from the topic alone.

    Nathan, did you tickle her?
    Admit it!