Since the start of Spring Semester, it’s become pretty common for me to hear a loud bang and a string of expletives coming from the living room of my apartment. I no longer have to ask what happened — I can just assume that one of my three roommates just died in a game of Fortnite.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is the latest in a long line of battle royale-style games in which the premise is pretty simple: survive. Dozens of players are dropped into a Hunger Games-esque setting in which they must scavenge for weapons and resources and outlive all other competitors.

The battle royale game was born as mods to pre-existing games, such as Minecraft and DayZ, and was eventually developed into standalone games. Most notable is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG, which quickly became one of the most popular games in the world. 

Now, though, Fortnite has begun to take over as the dominant battle royale game. Not only is it rivaling PUBG in player count — 20 million in November and growing — and Twitch streaming, it has taken hold as something of a meme online. Whether it’s video of a guy playing while at a party, Toronto Maple Leafs players being asked which of them is the best or classic SpongeBob memes, it’s fair to say that the internet has taken a liking to Fortnite.

And what’s not to like? From a gamer’s perspective, Fortnite has brought back teamplay and cooperation with friends that makes players feel a little bit like kids again. Its unforgiving “kill-or-be-killed” gameplay is tense, difficult and exciting, and it makes winning actually satisfying — wins are no longer expected, they are earned.

Plus, Fortnite’s battle royale mode is completely free. The game also offers a co-op mode titled “Save the World” and cosmetic-only character upgrades for purchase, but neither change the actual gameplay of battle royale. This isn’t a game in which deep pockets can buy you victories via loot box.

Epic Games, the developer and publisher behind Fortnite, is also working hard to maintain the game’s player base, providing constant updates and communication. The contrast between Fortnite and games produced by Electronic Arts, including Star Wars Battlefront 2 and the FIFA series, is very stark — EA seems hellbent on minimal updates, low transparency and the ability to pay to win.

Transparency, free to play with no loot boxes and an actual sense of achievement? Fortnite is the game 2018 needed, and it should be a blueprint for game developers going forward.

Alex McCann is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to send Alex selfies of your Fortnite victories? Tweet him @alexrmccann.

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