Fortnite will have 10 to 50 hour co-op campaigns, procedurally-generated worlds

True to its name, Game Informer has informed us about a game with an exclusive feature on Epic's cooperative build n' kill, Fortnite, in its latest issue . Our friends at CVG have scoured the story for details, and there are some surprises.

Rather than joining a persistent server as in DayZ, Rust, or SOE's new zombie survival game , Fortnight is played in campaigns of variable length (as of now, the variations are 10, 20, and 50 hours) with drop-in/drop-out co-op and procedurally generated worlds built of hexagonal tiles. Like Minecraft, the areas are themed with biomes including mountains, suberbs, grasslands, and industrial areas. The components of each "stage" (the hexagonal tiles) have been modeled by hand, and some areas are pre-built to accommodate structures.

Some comparisons to Rust can be made: players start with a board with a nail in it (Rust's rock, but a Simpsons reference ) and whack trees, rocks, and cars to gather resources, craft weapons, and build shelters. Fortnite has a clearer cooperative goal, though: move through the world to build and defend forts while closing destructive "portal-like gates."

Building is meant to be quick and practical. Walls, floors, ceilings, and stairs are built of wood, stone, or metal. A 3x3 grid overlay can be used to punch out holes for windows, and according to CVG, traps can be set including "spikes, electric surfaces, land mines, poisonous gas, launch pads, sentry guns, bots that follow your character around, and more."

The threat comes from storms that spawn monsters intent on bashing down your walls. When a storm hits, it sounds like Fortnite becomes similar to Gears of War's Horde mode, with lightning bolts spawning waves of "Husks" to attack your base. The four character classes will each excel at one role: gathering, building, combat, and being a ninja. Here they are via CVG, by way of Game Informer:

  • Constructor : Geared towards building quickly and requires less resources to do so. They can place a class-specific base device that heals materials in its radius and strengthens them. These devices can be upgraded.
  • Ninja : With a double-jump and an Overdrive melee, the Ninja is the most mobile character. Upgradable katanas make the class versatile in combat, and he/she can use throwing stars and smoke bombs to stun enemies.
  • Commando : Best suited to all-around combat. Upgrades give the Commando better damage, quicker reloads and headshots that debuff enemies. Commandos also have access to grenades and proximity mines.
  • Scavenger : Invaluable when teamed up with the Constructor, as she can harvest resources faster and make supply runs.

Some things are still unclear. Players can run more than one campaign at a time, and along with whatever forts they build, each player will have a home base where they can build structures such as a lumber mill, hospital, armory, command center, and dojo. Putting characters in these buildings will earn them stat bonuses, but I'm not sure how deep this meta game goes or how bases are linked between players.

Epic is also still working out the details of its free-to-play model, and is said to be looking at the way it's handled by League of Legends, Dota 2, and Hearthstone. It must be getting close, though, as it just opened up alpha registration and says Fortnite will be playable this year. The full story is in the May issue of Game Informer —also check out their video feature to see some of these mechanics in motion.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.