In an interview with Eurogamer, Lead Systems Designer Eric Williamson talked about changes coming to the game this week, such as a a major map update and “level streaming,” which Williamson described as a way to “increase the variety and quality of the localised area you’re in at any given time.”
So far, the quality of the game has been pretty good, enough to drive 40 million players into the free-to-play game. But just being good isn’t enough; according to Williamson, he and some of the rest of Epic have bigger goals:
“To put it in context, some of the folk around the office are saying hey, we could be the biggest Battle Royale game in the western world, which is crazy. Some people are saying we could be the biggest and best-played game [full stop] in the western world.”
My, and probably your, first reaction to that kind of bravado is along the lines of “yeah, sure, buddy.” But look at the numbers. FNBR launched just 100 days ago, as the video below commemorates, and I can’t think of any game that’s risen that high in such short a time. This list only has five games at or above that mark, and they’ve all been out for several years. It doesn’t include long-running MMOs, but other than World of Warcraft and RuneScape, both of which count their accounts created in the hundreds of millions, but again, those games have been around for over a decade apiece. Plus, you know, lots of RuneScape accounts are bots …
That said, things are going to slow down for Fortnite: Battle Royale, and it’s unlikely to have the same mass-market appeal that propelled games like Tetris and Minecraft to the top of that chart. With PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds listed at 24 million copies, it’s at least a reasonable bet to be the #1 battle royale game for a while.