Fortnite First Look (PC)

PC gamers were well represented at this year's Comic-Con with Epic Games' latest!

July 25, 2012, 7:21 a.m. by Robert Workman

Comic-Con 2012 had a lot of game highlights to go along with the TV and movie presentations, proving that the medium definitely has its fans.  In addition to bigger titles like Assassins Creed III and The Last of Us, the show was also home to some smaller – but just as significant – reveals.  Among them was the latest game coming from Epic Games, the team behind the Gears of War trilogy.  But don’t expect an action affair, but rather a game that takes the building creation aspect of Minecraft, and puts it into a world all its own.  Welcome to Fortnite.

The game, still in production at the developer and not yet given a solid release date, was talked about during a panel that opened up Thursday’s gaming events, hosted by Jessica Chobot.  On hand were Cliff Bleszinski, along with the game’s producer, Tanya Jessen and lead artist Pete Ellis, who discussed the finer aspects behind the original title, as well as everything you can do within it.

Fortnite does have a lot in common with Minecraft, as we previously described.  It’s got a similar sandbox-style set-up where, during the day, you have to build a huge structure that’s hard to penetrate, but also easy for you to get around.  During the evening, you’ll have to fight to defend it, using whatever makeshift weapons you manage to get your hands on.  The game supports single player actions, but also lets you team up with friends, in case you feel like working together to create some truly ultimate structures.  At that point, Epic showed us just how intricate these buildings can get, spanning several floors and even boasting the company’s logo on the side of one of the walls.

During the day, you’ll dig around the neighborhood for the necessary tools when it comes to building.  You can chop down trees for wood, tear away at buildings to gather brick and stone, and gain access to other goods that can help fortify your structures.  Various tools can be used with each character, including an axe and a sledgehammer, which will make resourcing these substances much more easier than trying to do it with your bare hand.

Once you build your structure, you can edit it to give it a bit of style, adding windows or doors and even trying to carve out signature touches, like the Epic logo we noted beforehand.  Just remember that you’ll want to build things with a bit of strategy in mind, so you don’t leave anything too wide open, while at the same time giving yourself the necessary access to stay out of harm’s way.

The building system features a cool silhouette system that shows you just what’s going to go where, so that you can be sure of when you place it within the world.  We’ve only seen bits and pieces of the building, but it definitely appears to be far more user friendly than Minecraft, with its information-filled menus.

As for the evening defense, we didn’t get to see too much of it either, though an in-the-works part of the game showed aspects similar to that of a third-person shooter, where you use various weapons and goods, mostly inspired by Valve’s Team Fortress 2, to destroy enemies and stay out of harm’s way.  You can also snag various types of ammunition, including shock arrows that do more damage to enemies than just your typical stuff.

From there, Cliff and his team introduced the game’s enemies, including Trolls that are a minor but consistent nuisance and the Husk, a nasty creature that takes a bit more damage.  Though the motivation behind these monsters being such a pain in your backside wasn’t revealed, it could very well have something to do with your resources.  But don’t quote us on that just yet.

Epic Games is utilizing the Unreal Engine 4 technology it first showcased at E3 a couple of months back for Fortnite, showing how far it’s pushing ahead of Minecraft’s simplistic pixel system.  The city you forage through looks fantastic, especially as you get to some of the more personable structure in the game.  The characters are awesome as well, and really give you some diversity when it comes to picking your hero.

At this point in development, Fortnite is, unfortunately, only in the works for PC, but Cliff did explain that the window is open for a possible debut on consoles somewhere down the road, though that could mean next-gen might be a consideration – with online co-op included, of course.  For now, the details that came out of Fortnite’s presentation may have been minimal, but they’ve given us a better idea of what the game’s about.  And it looks like Epic could very well be digging up gold with this one – just not in the town, mind you.

Look for a more in-depth preview of the game once we get more information!