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Fortnite 50v50 may be bringing the game's original dream back to life


This far in, I think we can officially say: Fortnite is weird. The game that originally launched offered a brilliant suite of construction tools, but the game’s pretty but rather brainless PvE meant there was little reason to build anything that fancy. The fact that any and all buildings would disappear at the end of a single Horde-style level meant that you felt you were wasting your time if you tried to experiment or make something elaborate and interesting. Form definitely followed function here.

And then Battle Royale came along and the game just got weirder. A neat lift from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds brought plenty of us back to Fortnite, as well as showcasing the oddly appealing Fortnite art style and its pleasantly vivid weaponry. I spent many happy hours lurking in bushes and discovering my favourite routes through the game’s snug but wonderfully cluttered island. I even won a game, although, spoilers, it was because I went AFK in some shrubbery while chatting with a colleague and came back in time to watch my only remaining rival make a terrible mistake with a rocket launcher. Battle Royale is fun, but again, I didn’t build much. And from the games I watched through to their conclusions, nobody else built much either. There would be a sudden blitz of construction towards the final act, and now and then someone would throw up a quick ramp to get to a treasure chest that was out of reach in an attic, but this was still a game that was mostly about shooting, a game in which the building could still be ignored most of the time.

Now 50v50 is here and all of this is starting to change. Maybe. I’ve only had one game so far, but Fortnite’s sleepy meta seems to have woken up in a very good mood. Is this the tweak to the formula that brings the original Fortnite dream – a game about destruction and creation working hand-in-hand – back to life?

Again: maybe. 50v50 is admirably clear-headed from the off. Two teams spreading out across the same landscape, leaping from the same battlebus, landing to find the same randomised loot, the same weapons, the same crafting material. Voice chat is squad only and friendly fire is turned off. Regardless of whether you die or not – I did, naturally – everyone on the surviving team wins.