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Tycho / on Fri, Jan 19 2018 at 11:22 am

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Out here, up in the Game Spire, where we buy games and then play them, Public G is a big deal, if not the biggest deal.  But a lot - and I mean a lot - of people play Fortnite.  To give you entre into a world you may not be aware of, the Youngs play Fortnite almost exclusively.  It doesn’t cost anything.  That’s, uh…  that’s a pretty good price.  There’s nothing even approximating a Queue on the PC.  Once you’ve decided you want to play, that’s it.  And from the sounds of it, that kind of community support is having an effect on their other titles.  Weirdly, it’s even having an effect on the PvE side of Fortnite, which you might recall was its original incarnation.  I think that’s temporary, though.  I hope so, anyway.  There’s a path through this where the two halves inform each other.  At this point, I think they’re still reeling from the shock.

I grabbed Fortnite on PC because I was convinced that, like The Division, wherever else the game might appear it was fundamentally a computer game and I was right.  But you can install and run Paragon from the same launcher, so of course I threw it on there.  A lot has changed; one of the main ones is that there are a ton of new heroes that I think really elevate what they were going for - the voice is much more certain than it was.  There’s like thirty-seven of these motherfuckers.  I like the weight and feel.  And, as a tech showcase, it’s fucking bananas.

They have some big challenges with their on-ramp.  I guess technically this is in “open beta,” at least it looks to be, but I’m not a dumb person and it still warped the expectations in some weird ways.  In addition to your build order for abilities, one of the ways you customize your playstyle is to grow your stats in certain ways so as to be able to leverage equippable cards.  No, come back!  This part isn’t bad.  It’s just different.  In the way that Final Fantasy XV looks like an action game but isn’t, this looks like it might be a shooter but isn’t - not really.  You have to have your head on straight to get what they’re going for, and even then it might just not be for you.  I have had many conversations with Devs during one of the many, many PAX shows I attend, and one of the scarier ones I have is about the fact that even if your game is great there’s no guarantee it’ll matter.  It’s not an appeal to embrace Chaos, it’s simply a recognition that we have arrived at a point where we have a global communications network, anyone can talk to anyone, and concepts like “merit” didn’t port.

I mean, it’s just awful; they’ve clearly murdered themselves making this thing.  They love this game.  And another game made by the same company is eclipsing it, not because of some skullduggery, but because it found the kind of success in this crazy, Hail Mary pass that you hope you’ll find every time you launch something.  What a kick in the fucking head.

(CW)TB out.

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