Fortnite Battle Royale has been a runaway success for Epic Games, cementing the popularity of the battle royale genre in mainstream gaming culture and making beaucoup bucks for the studio in the process, but according to former Epic Production Lead Rod Fergusson, none of that ever would have happened if he’d had his way. You may remember that Fortnite originally launched rather belatedly in July 2017 as a co-op PvE title focused on building forts and fending off hordes of zombies — now known as the largely neglected Save the World mode — that didn’t exactly make much of an impression with players or critics. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that the studio introduced the now-ubiquitous battle royale mode that pulled the game from the depths of obscurity.
Fergusson, who left Epic in 2012 while Fortnite was still in development, says, “If I had stayed at Epic, I would have canceled Fortnite. Before I left, I had tried to cancel Fortnite.” He explains that the original Fortnite “was a project that just had some challenges” and that “as a director of production at the time, that game would not have passed [his] bar for something [the studio] should continue to keep going.” But as we all know, Fergusson’s efforts to axe the game were unsuccessful, and although his initial assessment of Save the World was apparently on the money given its status as a nearly forgotten cousin of the battle royale mode, the game nevertheless survived to bring us the cultural phenomenon we all know and… feel some kind of emotion about, probably.