Epic’s Fortnite Goes Free-To-Play, Alpha Sign-Ups Open

By Nathan Grayson on April 9th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH GRAY IN THIS GAME.

As Epic told me during GDC, sugar-cereal-colored buildy blaster Fortnite isn’t fourscore feet under, as a) that’d be total overkill and b) it’s doing just fine. After a lengthy period of radio silence, the Unreal Engine mega-maven has finally seen fit to re-reveal the game and begin taking sign-ups for an upcoming alpha. The biggest (noticeable) change so far? Fortnite is now officially free-to-play.

You can find the alpha sign-up page right through here.

Meanwhile, as part of an impending Game Informer cover story, Epic confirmed what more than a few people expected: Fortnite will be free-to-play.

The game’s visual style has also received a bit of an overhaul – or at least a tune-up – pushing it into ever-so-slightly less cartoony territory. Beyond that, details are pretty scarce at the moment, though the alpha sign-up survey does include a couple interesting tidbits.

Frequent references to League of Legends, especially, stand out. Given that Fortnite is already a chunky zeitgeist stew that’s one part Gears of War and one part Minecraft, it wouldn’t be too┬ásurprising to find a few freshly basted bites of LoL in there as well. I suppose we’ll see.

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28 Comments »

  1. Cytrom says:

    Unless “Fortnite” is a working title for Unreal Tournament 4, I still don’t give a damn about this sellout company. Their engine is still decent at least.

    (Thats still more than id software, the other titan of the “GOOD fps era” could say though.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      After UT3, are you sure you’d want a UT4? Separating from Digital Extremes, and possibly whatever thing crawled in CliffyB’s ear and turned him from the guy who made Jazz Jackrabbit to the guy who made Gears of Tedium, seems to have been fatal for the series.

      Plus it might end up free-to-play with persistent unlocks, and doing that to one of the granddaddies of the sure-everyone-gets-infinite-redeemers-whatever-have-fun-now arena shooter would be too horrible for the world to bear.

      Edit: Hunh, apparently the berabbitsuited one left Epic after GoW3.

  2. SquareWheel says:

    Ech, F2P = nickel and diming all through the experience. Not a fan. But then, I’m probably not the intended audience.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      /\ This.

    • Everyone says:

      Well, I was really looking forward to this; it has been in the back of my mind since RPS first wrote about it. Free to play? Gah. No thanks. What ever happened to “pay for a game and play it”? Is that just an indie thing now?

    • derbefrier says:

      Depends on the model. If the go the path of exile route its all good if they do something else than meh…

    • Koozer says:

      Not all F2P games use the same horrendous mobile game model. It’s like saying you hate Call of Duty, therefore you won’t consider playing ARMA.

      • SquareWheel says:

        “Not all F2P games use the same horrendous mobile game model.”

        No, but most do. And EA is largely the worst offender.

  3. Evil Pancakes says:

    Sounds like it could be kind of interesting, maybe? Mostly will depend on the F2P model they use.
    I just wish Epic would make a new Unreal Tournament already, I miss those fast paced arena shooters of the olden days.

  4. ran93r says:

    The footage courtesy of Gameinformer is here (in case you wanted to get straight to the meat):

  5. Wodge says:

    So this game Epic has been hyping up as something original and amazing is Loadout with the building from the Source: Forts mod of years past.

    Just stick to the engine updates.

  6. Armante says:

    Elements of Dota/lol gaming? I just lost any and all interest.

  7. Kollega says:

    Okay. I have one, just one SERIOUS FUCKING QUESTION right now. Why, in Ratchet’s name, WHY does every. Single. Damn. Game that has semi-decent cartoony/comicky art-style have to be fucking free-to-grind? I mean, sure, it’s supposed to entice casual players, but godsfuckingdammit, can’t we have ONE. DECENT. Cartoony game that’s about exploring a rich 3D world rather than fighting in interchangeable multiplayer matches and getting constantly nickel-and-dimed by the developers? Cash shop was what killed TF2 to me, and even if there are half-decent entries that utilize both cartoonishness and free-to-play (looking at you, Loadout, you generous swashbuckler, you), it still can’t compare to being able to pay once and explore a massive, detailed, lovingly crafted cartoony world. Somebody, please EXPLAIN TO ME why “cartoony” automatically equals “multiplaer free-to-play game with $20 hats instead of substance” in the minds of developers.

    • Frank says:

      I know what you mean, but the real answer (an expert’s explanation of the relevant market research) would be dull… so how about “it doesn’t”?

      You could (arguably) try Beyond Good & Evil, Psychonauts, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, King’s Bounty, The Walking Dead and countless games with 2D art, like Spelunky and Broken Age.

      I guess you already knew that, though. And you probably also know that a ” 3D [...] massive, detailed, lovingly crafted [...] world” costs more money than marketing folks at publishers would be willing to recommend investing in a game in any art style. It depends on how you define “massive” and “lovingly-crafted,” but the Batman series is the only one that comes close that I’ve enjoyed (as a die-hard hater of GTA and other non-Fallout walking-across-a-wasteland simulators).

      • Kollega says:

        I do know that massive, detailed, and lovingly-crafted 3D worlds are expensive… but I played more than a few open-world games and I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t cost much more than they already do to make them in a cartoony, as opposed to realistic, style.

        And I played Beyond Good & Evil and Psychonauts, as well as Borderlands and Ratchet & Clank and some other games not focused on brownish-gray “realism”, but the entertainment value of any game doesn’t last forever. I think my gripe is just that the market is dominated by so-called “photorealism”, and cartoony styles are relegated to the B-list free-to-play games.

    • engion3 says:

      Was really looking forward to this game but now have mixed emotions with it being free to play
      .

    • GewaltSam says:

      I think it’s not that games with a cartoony art style become free to play, it’s the other way around. Cartoon graphics age very well (as seen in WoW or TF2), so a F2P model which the developers like to monetize on for a few years often make use of that.

  8. Milky1985 says:

    Well it has to be free to play on PC, as this is coming from the company that basically called the entire PC crowed a bunch of pirates saying how they wouldn’t release games for it any more. FTP games less likely to get pirated so they can go back on what they said in a politician kind of way “well we have technically not done this”

  9. SillyWizard says:

    Yawn.

  10. darkhog says:

    Can’t wait till I build giant statue of Jazz Jackrabbit in it.

  11. Strangerator says:

    I was looking forward to a new type of game, where you go out adventuring during the day and gather materials, then try to survive tower-defense ish levels at night. It may still resemble this structure, but the monetization garbage is going to be annoying.

  12. Lurid says:

    “At this time, you do not qualify for the Fortnite Alpha. Thank you so much for your interest.”

    Damnit, I knew I should have told them what they wanted to hear… I hate these things.

    • GewaltSam says:

      I have the same problem. I tried to play around with my answers a bit (which were completely honest first), but I still did not qualify for the Alpha. Maybe it just saved my first answers, and now i can forget a reapplication with that e-mail, but, well, then Epic can go to hell :P

      I don’t get why they won’t simply take your application, and you get to the back of the queue or something if they don’t like your answers. It’s not that i need to join the alpha instantly, but it would be nice to know that I’m on the list and don’t need to check in every now and then to test if I am now qualified…