After a long, harrowing journey in which he was forced to duct tape an assault rifle and chainsaw together to escape the vacuous innards of a consolebox, Cliff "Don't Call Me CliffyB" Bleszinski (and, I suppose, Epic's legion of insanely talented guys and gals) is back on PC. So then, what does the formidable devourer of puppies have in store for us this time? Well, in short, Fortnite's an Unreal-Engine-4-powered exclusive that, er, sounds a whole lot like Minecraft.
Here's the rundown, straight from Epic's desk - which is probably made of chainsaws held aloft by four granite biceps.
"In Fortnite, players will explore, forage, collaborate and build by day in their own dynamic and expanding world. At night, they’ll work together to defend their prized fortress from the forces of darkness. [Comic-Con] attendees also received a first look at Fortnite’s building system, which is designed so that players can use scavenged materials to quickly build and renovate structures of varying materials and complexity."
Based on last year's teaser trailer, however, it definitely doesn't look like Minecraft. That said, it definitely seems more lighthearted than Epic's recent outings, in which the only thing you conceivably need to build is a raft to keep from drowning in oceans of blood and sinking to the bloody depths of Bloodlantis, the lost city of kittens. And blood.
At any rate, it's certainly a solid (and proven) concept, and Epic stands a good chance of polishing it into something fast and instantly enjoyable. I mean, say what you will cover systems and whatnot, but I'll go to my grave arguing that Gears of War's active reload system is a piece of pure game design brilliance. Same with horde mode, which - while now eye-rollingly overdone - got its start in Gears. Epic's become pretty masterful at these tiny twists on the same-old, same-old in recent years, so I'm legitimately interested in seeing what it does here.
For now, though, details about the nuts 'n' bolts of play are scant. But hey, screens! And hey, at this rate, maybe UE4 will kick off an era of sumptuously colorful games in the same way UE3, well, basically did the opposite. Gaze upon them below.