A big hello to everyone out there! It’s definitely hard for me to contain my excitement at the prospect of finally getting to hang out face-to-face, real and in-person, with our growing community of Storm Chasers and everyone else with an interest in this crazy game we call Fortnite. After all, what’s the point of this if it’s not you and us having fun together? We love Fortnite, and we’re busting our butts to get it into as many hands as possible. We hope that you guys and gals are going to think it’s as special as we do. Plus, our families are getting annoyed by being the only people we’re allowed to talk to about this, so they are definitely relieved we can finally start to go public.
In the last couple of years of Fortnite’s development we’ve had a few secret playtest sessions. It gives us a chance to crawl out from our offices and meet new people, rubbing our eyes clear from days at a time spent staring at those blasted computer monitors while having an opportunity to get a sanity check that we’re on the right track. Game developers can be a neurotic bunch and we need affirmation from our peers (you) that what we’re doing is fun.
Early in 2013, we covertly set up shop at the East Coast Gaming Conference here in Raleigh. We set up 12 stations in a back room of the main conference hall and then sent unmarked Epic folk out into the crowds to find anyone that might be interested in playing a demo. Almost none of the gamers we found had any idea what Fortnite was since we’d been quiet for so long, but all of them had a blast. Each group played for three hours and they used every second we gave them. Some even asked to come back the next day! Being gamers ourselves, seeing the excitement of the people playing Fortnite was really energizing. These events confirmed what we needed as devs: a connection with people that love games as much as we do and confirmation that we’re not crazy- what we’re building is really fun.
Later in the summer of 2013, we decided to replicate the community event we had at ECGC by inviting Epic fans from our Gears of War forums plus some of our new friends from ECGC to our studio for a day of playing. We also decided to give some of our industry pals a sneak preview and they were added to the mix as well. The energy was electric! Eight hours later everyone was excited, cheering on their teammates and having a great time. We were knocked over by the genuinely happy responses our new and old friends had with our game.
These two events shaped our philosophy that reaching out to you guys, whether bringing you to us or us coming to you, is one of the most important touchstones we can have. We want to have conversations with you and hear what you have to say. This feedback, both positive and negative, helps us shape what we’re hoping people will see as a foundation to build up their own worlds, push back the storm, and fight off the monsters. Fortnite is a labor of love and we hope that comes through in everything we do. It’s for this reason community events are so important to us. Hopefully we’ll be coming to your town soon. We can’t wait to see you guys in Portland!