No, Fortnite Battle Royale Wasn't Almost Cancelled, Not Even Close
We get it, the name "Fortnite" draws clicks, because Fortnite Battle Royale was (and still might be) the hottest thing out there right now. We've given in a few times ourselves, but at least we let you know we're being goofy about it.
That's why we hesitated a bit in talking about the weekend's "big" story about Fortnite, but we thought we'd get it out there now to dissect it a little -- and, yes, to get some of that sweet, sweet traffic. Because Fortnite.
Over the weekend, Game Informer posted a snipped of an interview with Rod Ferguson, the head of the studio working on Gears of War 5. Ferguson previously worked at Epic Games and, for a while, held the fate of Fortnite in his hand. In the interview, Ferguson admitted that, if it had been up to him, we would never have learned about the floss dance and Tilted Towers:
"If I had stayed at Epic, I would have cancelled Fortnite ... Before I left, I tried to cancel Fortnite. When it was Save the World, that was a project that just had some challenges, and as a director of production at the time, that game would not have passed my bar for something we should continue to keep going."
To say that Fortnite "had some challenges" isn't news. The game was originally revealed in 2011 but didn't exist in a playable form for the masses until 2017. Six years is a long time, and it's understandable that a game that's been in the oven for that long to have its detractors within the company that's developing it.
Notice, though, how Ferguson tried to slip in those three little words -- "Save the World." That's because, while he's happy to tell the story of how he almost cancelled the biggest game of the past few years ... he really didn't, and he probably knows that. Ferguson said he almost cancelled the PvE version of Fortnite, Save the World. He didn't have anything to do with Fortnite Battle Royale, which didn't sprout into existence until 2017, a full five years after Ferguson was no longer with the company.
Yes, Ferguson left Epic Games in August 2012 (source), when Save the World had just begun development and Battle Royale games didn't even exist. Even the progenitor of the battle royale genre, survival games, were relative newborns at the time, with the DayZ mod for Arma II being just a few months old.
Ferguson must have really hated the initial concept of Fortnite if he "tried to cancel" it, as he said, when it was barely a year into development. Or maybe he didn't, and he's just employing a little timeline rewriting to provide a cool story (and now, a cool story for gaming news websites). To say that he observed its challenges over the years and might have tried to ax it had he still been with the company in, say, 2015, would make some sense, and maybe that's the point he's trying to get across. But that's purely a hypothetical situation he's putting himself into.
We've tried our best here at MMOBomb to distinguish between the two Fortnites. You'll even notice that we have two separate game pages, both of which were linked in the opening paragraph. We should maybe rename the first one "Fortnite: Save the World," but since we'd been calling that just "Fortnite" for so long, it's a hard habit to break. In any case, we'll always let you know when we're talking about Fortnite Battle Royale as opposed to Fortnite Save the World, because there's a difference between the two. One is a worldwide phenomenon, while the other is probably just fortunate it hasn't met the same fate as Paragon.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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