Fortnite tells its smartest story when you're unwittingly acting it out

Storm troopers.

How do you tell story in a battle royale? Fortnite cannot lean on cutscenes and audio logs (although Fortnite will absolutely also break its own rules and use cutscenes and audio logs). It has brief lore snippets attached to its characters and items. It has environmental storytelling and live events. But, smartest of all I think, is its ability to have players act out parts of the story it wants to tell.

Take last week, for example, when Fortnite flipped the switch on a new Star Wars collaboration and parked a Star Destroyer over its island map. At the same time, an Imperial Stormtrooper skin appeared in Fortnite's in-game shop which countless people immediately forked out for (hello). Suddenly, lobbies were full of Stormtroopers - a genuine Fortnite invasion as if from the Empire's looming spaceship in the sky above. The game put these pieces in place, but it was its players that ended up roleplaying it for everyone else.

How about a less marketing-driven example? Back in Season 5 - the Road Trip season with Drift and Brite Bomber dubbed "Worlds Collide" - rifts brought all sorts of new things to the Fortnite map. But as the island filled up, a fleet of masked time cops named Enforcers dropped in to sort it all out - like the Reapers in that Christopher Ecclestone episode of Doctor Who.


The Enforcer was Season 5's secret skin - so of course as soon as he could be unlocked, lobbies were filled with him too. It meant you had players still playing as Drift and Brite Bomber being terrorised by this flood of Enforcers - just as that week's loading screen depicted.

As Fortnite tells a weekly narrative through loading screens, you can rely on seeing the characters they depict turn up in matches. Players like showing off the latest skins they've unlocked or purchased, of course, but they are also sometimes required to use them to fulfill in-game challenges and role-play certain parts of the game's storyline. Remember in Season 7, when you unlocked the Prisoner secret skin the week he was shown breaking out of the Ice King's dungeon? Subsequent weeks saw you power him up by recreating his various actions on further loading screens, until he reached his full, end of season volcano-summoning potential.

And in this season, in Chapter 2, Fortnite is subtly asking you to pick a side. Maybe you have the friendly Slurpman Rippley as your teammate, and you live out the fiction of fighting alongside the new team of E.G.O heroes. Or maybe you prefer being one of the baddies building up their genetically modified A.L.T.E.R. clones? Battle Pass skins have a version for each side, so you can roleplay who wins - at least until Fortnite's narrative moves on to whatever's next in store.


Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (7)

About the author

Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor  |  tomphillipsEG

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.


You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (7)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store