Epic announces Fortnite Competitive 2021 schedule, $20 million prize pool

FNCS 2021
(Image credit: Epic Games)
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Epic Games has announced its schedule and format for the 2021 Fortnite Champion Series, including a $20 million prize pool. The announcement includes some significant format changes that longtime FNCS fans and participants have been asking for.

We've combed through Epic's announcement to lay out everything you need to know about FNCS 2021.

FNCS 2021 Format

Perhaps the biggest change to previous Fortnite Champion Series, Epic has decided to make all of 2021's FNCS events trios format. That's right. No more duos or full four-man squads.

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Some other significant changes include:

- Players can now compete in cross-platform pools, meaning the whole team doesn't need to be playing on the same platform. Though you can probably bet that most of the top players will be on PC for obvious reasons.

- Weekly qualifiers will have one additional round, and once a team has qualified for the semi-finals, they will not be able to participate in subsequent qualifiers for that event. Evidently, players had been complaining about qualifier rounds being influenced by teams who had already secured their spot.

- Epic is splitting up semi-finals and finals to separate weekends to avoid player fatigue. As someone who has to cover this stuff, I appreciate it, too.

- All prizes have been shifted to the finals of each event.

- The top three teams from each region's finals will automatically qualify for the next season's FNCS Finals, provided the same team members are still present.

- Some indeterminate scoring format changes to account for the increased influx of players into the FNCS.

FNCS 2021

(Image credit: Epic Games)

FNCS 2021 Chapter 5 Schedule: Every event date

FNCS 2021 Chapter 5's season is kicking off in early February and will run through mid-March. If your team doesn't make it through one qualifier, you can always attempt to again through mid-February.

Qualifier 1: February 4-7
Qualifier 2: February 11-14
Qualifier 3: February 18-21
Bye Week: February 25-28
Semi-Finals: March 5-7
Reboot Round: March 12 & 13
Finals: March 12-14

This is just the first of four FNCS seasons, so future dates will definitely be announced later.

fortnite gold bars bounties

(Image credit: Epic Games)

FNCS 2021 prize pool

Despite this hellscape of a past year, Epic Games has managed to squirrel away a total of $20 million that will be dispersed throughout winners this season. That's $3 million more than the 2020 FNCS.

Epic has also stated that 2021 will have four FNCS seasons, with each getting a $3 million prize pool. That $3 million will thusly be split up by region.

EU: $1,350,000
NAE: $690,000
NAW: $300,000
BR: $300,000
ASIA: $150,000
ME: $120,000
OC: $90,000

But wait, there's more money to be had. Epic says that an additional $8 million is set aside for mid and end of the year competitions, but they'll announce those details later.

How to watch FNCS 2021

You'll most likely be able to watch FNCS 2021 on the usual Twitch or YouTube channels. That said, Epic is expanding its reach when it comes to broadcasting competitions.

Epic is adding separate broadcasts for French, German, and Spanish speakers in the EU region.

"By increasing our FNCS global coverage, we can now focus our broadcasts on each previously mentioned region’s final lobby for the Weekly Qualifiers along with all Semi-Finals and Finals days," Epic said.

The Oceania broadcast will be handled by the Australian Open.

FNCS 2021

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Competitive gameplay changes

Epic is of course going to try to keep things fresh, so expect some gameplay changes as the FNCS 2021 seasons roll on. So far, they've announced a handful of changes that anyone who's been keeping up with regular battle royale could see coming.

- Adding the lever action shotgun
- Vaulting the Rift Fish
- Vaulting shockwave grenades
- Removing elevators and IO guards
- Despite sand tunneling previously being one of season 5's buggiest features, it looks like Epic is satisfied with its current state, so expect to see that in competitive mode. I imagine that'll make for some really interesting moments between pro players.
- The number of gold bars players start with in competitive mode will be continually adjusted as needed.

Other FNCS 2021 details

Epic is also planning on running console-specific tournaments, solo saturday events, and one-off trios cash cups and LTM tournaments. So make sure to be on the lookout for those if you're more of a casual competitive player and not gung-ho on making it your career.

Don't forget to check out the rest of our Fortnite guides, where you can find walkthroughs for all the major quests in season 5.

Joseph Knoop

Joseph Knoop is a freelance writer specializing in all things Fortnite at PC Gamer. Master of Creative Codes and Fortnite's weekly missions, Joe's always ready with a scoop on Boba Fett or John Wick or whoever the hell is coming to Fortnite this week. It's with a mix of relief and disappointment that he hasn't yet become a Fortnite skin himself. There's always next season...