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Epic used Fortnite OG to lure players back to a very different game

Epic used Fortnite OG to lure players back to a very different game

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The nostalgic event was a strategic decision to get players back into the game, before launching a trio of new experiences beyond battle royale.

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Art for the Fortnite OG season of Fortnite.
Image: Epic Games

You could say that Fortnite is entering a new phase. With the launch of Lego Fortnite, Rocket Racing, and Fortnite Festival, the game is now more than a popular battle royale — it’s a platform designed to house lots of different kinds of experiences. That shift was preceded by an event that brought the game back to its roots with Fortnite OG, which returned to the original battle royale map alongside classic weapons and vehicles. And that was a very intentional strategy from Epic Games.

According to Epic’s executive VP Saxs Persson, the launch of Fortnite OG was meant to create a stir ahead of this rollout of new games. “We had a goal of re-activating a lot of our 500 million accounts that maybe weren’t playing Fortnite anymore, and thought Fortnite was just battle royale,” he explains. “You need them to pay attention to see this is actually very different than what we were six years ago. OG was the first step.” It certainly seems to have worked in that regard; Epic previously said that Fortnite had 100 million players in November, the game’s best month ever.

The second step is this week’s rollout of those three Epic-developed games, each aimed at a different audience. It’s still too early to tell if any of them will be a hit, but early signs are encouraging. At the time of this writing, nearly 2 million people were playing Lego Fortnite, while more than 800,000 were playing Fortnite Festival, both of which had topped the traditional battle royale. Persson says the goal isn’t necessarily to surpass the game’s current main mode, though.

“The ultimate goal is that that is possible [for another game to overtake battle royale],” he says. “We’re not building something with the idea that battle royale will just fall by the wayside. That team is as healthy as it’s ever been. This is not a zero sum game; we expect the ecosystem to grow.”