- Oct 25, 2017
Fortnite’s giant mechanical Brutes have been contentious among players since they arrived at the start of Season 10. Players have been calling for them to be removed from the game, or at least from competitive play. Today, developer Epic responded to the calls to remove the mechs. Fortnite seems to be keeping them, because according to Epic, they give more players a chance at a victory royale.
In a blog post titled “Fortnite and the B.R.U.T.E,” Epic wrote, “The mission of Fortnite is to bring players of all skill levels together to have a fun experience where anyone can win. For example - everyone having a shot at that first elimination or Victory Royale moment.” Another part of Fortnite’s mission, the post says, is “to provide spectacle and entertainment when playing Fortnite… The B.R.U.T.E. was added at the start of Season X with this mission in mind. Since then, we have seen players who had previously struggled with getting eliminations acquiring more, while the number of eliminations earned by more experienced players remained steady.”
Destroy my 2 by 4 house if old.Professional player Nicks responded, “You don’t just throw an overpowered robot into the game hoping bad players will get good.”
Fortnite has long struggled with the tension between competitive and casual play. The sequestering of the game’s siphon mechanic into only competitive modes was one example of this. Epic felt the mechanic, while vital for competitive play, made casual play too aggressive. Keeping the mech in competitive is, in some ways, the inverse of this situation, where an addition that makes casual play fun has supposedly disastrous consequences on competitive. Striking the balance will always be tough for Fortnite, especially as the game beefs up its esports presence.
Then there’s the question of spectacle and entertainment value, another point of tension in Fortnite. Professional caster Balla wrote, “One person losing a game by getting shot by B.R.U.T.E. missiles is too many. Dying to it is one of the least FUN things I can think of. Ever. In gaming. It is the opposite of ‘fun’ for ALL players. It is not a good spectacle. It is not entertaining watching people get mad.” Fortnite owes at least some of its success to its popularity with streamers, but Epic Games’ emphasis on watchability sometimes comes at the cost of potential competitive strategies.