Who created Fortnite? Epic Games might be behind the game, but the story of who made Fortnite is a bit more interesting than just a simple name.
Fortnite has become one of the biggest franchises in gaming. At this point, the game is a platform for all sorts of creations with UnrealFN Maps, the most popular Battle Royale, even home to tons of crossovers and live events. Who created Fortnite though? Most people likely know it was developed by Epic Games, but that team has changed a lot since the very first version of the game came out. Who made Fortnite is one thing, but who took Fortnite from a smaller tower defence title and made it into the expansive world it is now?
A quick search for who created Fortnite will yield loads of results, largely about Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. It’s no surprise that he’s an associated name, he’s been one of the main public figures pushing the strengths and possibilities of the game for quite a while. However, as a CEO of the company he’s not exactly the answer to who made Fortnite, CEOs don’t tend to get all that hands-on. So how did Fortnite become what it is today and who created Fortnite?
Who Created Fortnite?
If you’re simply looking for a name, there are thousands of answers. Fortnite was created by a development team at Epic Games and other studios, and since then things have only grown. You can find credits for Fortnite Save the World. The staff for Battle Royale has changed a lot over all Fortnite seasons. A constant will likely be Tim Sweeney in that list. Then there’s the Unreal Editor, live shows with their staffs assembling them, even comic books and other media to bear to mind. A simple name answer to who made Fortnite would essentially be these credits. Fortnite is the results of collaborative work from thousands of countless individuals.
In a more literal sense though, it's Epic Games as a whole who made Fortnite into what it is. As a company, they saw potential in the fledging Survival game to show off the abilities of their Unreal Engine. From here, the drive to get even more ambitious, a platform for anything you want it to be.
Who Made Fortnite? Game Jam Origins
Fortnite was originally thought up as part of an internal contest from Epic Games. That’s where the answer to who created Fortnite is. Developers were working on a Game Jam after the competition of Gears of War 3. These are contests where developers try to prototype a concept for a game in a short amount of time. Other games to come out of game jams include huge indie platformers like Celeste. The original idea behind Fortnite couldn’t have been further from Gears of War.
The game was still envisioned as a survival game You’d have to survive, but build, loot, and evolve as you did so. The original idea had a fair bit of Minecraft in it. It's easy to imagine a world where Fortnite never got past this, and instead became a Minecraft clone with harsher zombies and a more 3D art style.
After the game jam original idea, they revealed the idea and rough concept of the game. This was to test out interest from other developers and try to find a home for the game.
Developing Save the World
Fortnite was envisioned as the first game to be made by Epic using their Unreal 4 engine, a showpiece for what it was capable of. They also eventually decided to move to focus only on PC, at least at first. The development of the game itself began with work spread among Epic’s satellite studios.
If you’re who created Fortnite or who made Fortnite, this means it’s pretty hard to even pin down a place it came from! By 2014 at least 90 people were actively working on the game, including a decent number of staff from Polish studio People Can Fly. They’re now an independent company, but they played a role too.
The game continued to be focused on a more tower defence style game with a core building mechanic but increasingly slowed down as Epic wanted more and more to use the game to show off the features of Unreal 4. The next major turning point emerged when Tencent took a stake in Epic Games and began pushing for a live service game model for the title, something a lot less common back then.
Battle Royale still was far from an idea, but Fortnite as a live service had already emerged. This early version of the game had tons of weird bits though, including building relying on payers completing a mini-game to pace each piece! By mid-2014 a playable prototype had been completed, though not fully polished. Epic revealed they anticipated another 3 years in development time for the game. However, some alphas were already being worked on to try the game out.
Save the World’s Release
The next big stage for who made Fortnite is actually showing the game off! Early alphas might have started, but early access in earnest was a bit later coming. This was announced in 2017, now on Mac, PC, Xbox, and PS4. Paid items like Founder’s Pack even started to be sold. While the game still had problems, it was released into Early Access to allow players to start playing even while most of the title was still under construction. This game was Fortnite, later to be known as Save the World.
Who Created Fortnite Battle Royale?
The next stage for Fortnite’s development might be the release of the mode we now simply call Fortnite. This is Fortnite Battle Royale. Its runaway popularity might have stolen the simpler moniker from the original title (now re-dubbed Save the World), but it originated as just another game mode in an all-around ambitious project.
PUBG was released in March 2017 and became an international sensation. With Epic also looking to unleash a live service game, the Battle Royale game looked increasingly attractive. The development team began exploring a Battle Royale mode for Fortnite too, with the more PVE move staying separate for now to protect its balance. The genre proved an impressive showcase for what Unreal could do.
The Battle Royale development was headed by Eric Williamson and Zack Estep, two names that are definitely worth keeping in mind when thinking who made Fortnite or who created Fortnite Battle Royale. The first rough Battle Royale release only took two months of development time, being aided by an expanded roster of devs drafted in from the unreal Tournament series to help get it out fast.
It’s surprising looking back that the most famous form of Fortnite was created in such a short space of time, especially considering the longer development of the main game. Battle Royale added a lot of different elements to make it more suited for PVP, but it also ditched some parts of the core game like fortifications. The early plan for Battle Royale was to chuck it in with the main game as a free extra.
Epic changed direction pretty quickly though, instead making it a separate free-to-play title. This even beat PUBG to consoles, something which might have helped it overtake that.
Fortnite Becomes a Platform
From the release of Battle Royale, the story behind the game is much more commonly known! It became a big hit. The game became a huge part of the landscape pretty quickly, in no small part due to how well-suited to content creators and streamers the title was. Epic eventually capitalized on this with the sale of skins. The success of which yielded even more skins, and eventually other companies looking to get their creations into the game as a form of advertising. To some, whoever pitched the first crossover might have a decent role to play in who created Fortnite.
Epic has taken the game through different versions since and more recently embraced the metaverse approach to the game. This is the idea that anything and everything can be experienced within Fortnite. This is where Tim Sweeney often comes up as the answer to who made Fortnite. The CEO has long been pushing this aspect of the game, understandably he’s a big proponent of Fortnite reaching into more and more worlds.
Fortnite becoming what it is today has as much to do with players though. The game has a great track record of listening to the player base and developing accordingly. It didn’t get to the reach-high Fortnite player count by annoying its player base, or at least for more than a season or two before reversing.
The title likely has a long way still to grow. There’s probably room for more names to join the list of those who made Fortnite! Fortnite has already become home to an entire game editor, and it’ll soon expand within even more modes. We’ll just have to see what awaits us in Chapter 5 and beyond.