Interview with Tanya Watson

This week we've found time with Tanya Watson Executive Producer on Fortnite to talk about what makes the game unique and what role YOU play in helping us build an awesome co-op experience.  Check it out:

  • Tell us about your role as a Producer on the Fortnite team.

Man, what a hard question to answer because my days vary wildly.  My role is the great uniter on the project because we are self-publishing, operating, and developing Fortnite – a first for us for a game of this scope.  So, I work to connect all of the pieces through prioritization, establishing goals, eliminating communication problems, and helping to provide a light at the end of the tunnel for the team.   At the end of the day, I’m super focused delivering the best Fortnite experience that we can across all vectors: Web, launching and installing the game, playing together, the game itself, along with the business model.  Yep, I’m the one ensuring that we truly bring a great game experience whether you pay money for it or not.  

  • How is Fortnite unique compared to other projects you’ve worked on?

A question I’ve heard a lot: “How we were going to market this game?”  It doesn’t fit any known game paradigms.   It’s so many things that appeal to so many different walks of life, and that is what makes it incredibly unique.  Never have I seen shooter players love and play a game right alongside RPG players, who are sitting right alongside console gamers (“who never touch PC games”).  It’s wonderful to be working on such a uniting game that’s built upon a swath of integrated systems.  Fortnite really encourages people to play how they like to, and while doing so, will feel like a valued member of their team.   That comes through in our class system strongly – for those who like melee combat, there’s a role for you.  For those who like more ranged combat, there’s a role for you.  For those who like to support their team (and may not want to fight at all), there are multiple roles for you.  And you can grow those classes and experiment with others as you choose.

  • What type of Fortnite player are you / what is your favorite play style? (building, looting, combat, etc?)

I’m a planner (surprisesurprise) and I like to play support roles.  So fundamentally, I like to do a few things in Fortnite:  My initial goals are to get everything I’d need to be successful for planning out the base and the trap layout.  That includes organizing my friends to ensure that we get enough resources and have enough parts to craft traps, bullets, and repair our building.  In the middle of combat, I like to be the person who ensures that the base stays up – so that means running around and repairing walls, re-creating ceilings, staying high up in order to call out from which direction the enemies are coming.  I love to play sniper roles as well, so if I’m not building/planning, I like to find sniper rifle schematics and build encampments so that I can be shielded from fire and take out enemies from afar.

  • Can you share a little-known fact or crazy story from the Fortnite development process so far?

Fortnite was almost cancelled multiple times prior to releasing our initial teaser trailer (Spike VGAs 2011).   It is the largest and most ambitious project that we’ve ever undertaken and I think we recognized that a little too well in the beginning.  And it was scary.  Deep RPG mechanics was not something we had done a lot of in the past – nor was building open world games or MMOs, but we sure as hell have a lot of the talent in the building to create them, so why not leverage it and do something that’s very different for us?  We’re so glad that we decided to keep pushing and proving the ideas out even though this is a game that’s never been done before.

  • What role do you feel our community has played so far in the development of the game? How do you envision our community will be involved in the game’s success in the future?

Fortnite is best with friends and everything we do in the launch of the game should take community into consideration.  We’ll be looking to you to tell us what you love or hate.  We’ll be looking to you to see how you approach our game and see what you gravitate towards.  We’ll be looking to you to see what types of classes or weapons you’d love to see introduced into our world.  This is a living project for us and we want to grow it with the community.

  • What are you most excited for regarding the start of the Fortnite Alpha later this year?

This is the starting line for us.  Sure, we’ve had a game in development for a while now, but this is where development TRULY begins.  There are so many tools in the world of Fortnite and I couldn’t be more excited to see how players use them and for you to show us ways to play the game that we never imagined. 

Awesome, we can't wait!  Thanks Tanya for chatting with me.

Stormchasers, who would you like to learn more about from our Fortnite team next?  Tell us in the comments!

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