Fortnite’s Party Royale Mode Still Has So Much Untapped Potential

Fortnite’s Party Royale Mode Still Has So Much Untapped Potential

It’s the dream gaming social space that the likes of PlayStation Home could never be.

Last Friday, Fortnite servers stepped up where real cinemas couldn’t. Broadcasting in countries all over the globe, the new Party Royale island let players enjoy a full Christopher Nolan movie from start to finish. Not content with an exclusive trailer for his upcoming film Tenet, Nolan also brought Inception, Batman Begins, and The Prestige to millions of Fortnite players in showings throughout the day.

It used to be that Fortnite’s big, season-closing finales were the unmissable events. But more and more, Epic Games’ shooter is simply serving as a platform for other arts. Themed events have given way to musical performances and movie showings, and during a year in which many are unable to attend concerts or go to the cinema, Fortnite has become the prime place for artists to debut their work.

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In truth, the grand sequences of island revitalization which cap off each season always felt just a little at odds with the game that hosted them. After all, stopping to watch a rocket take off gets a little tricky when you also need to make sure that no one’s likely to take your head off in the next few moments. Despite attempts at truces, early events saw many players miss out after sneaky betrayals, leading Epic Games to introduce safer ways to watch it all unfold. With tens of millions tuning in, a dedicated mode to enjoy future happenings seemed all but inevitable. 

Launched in May, the Party Royale mode contains an entirely separate island designed for messing around and, well, partying with your friends. Drop into this island and the only weapons you’ll find are harmless sticky arrows, paint shooters, and tossable hamburgers. Explore the island and you can test your skills with gliding and driving time trials, or spring around on jump pads to neverending music by Steve Aoki, deadmau5 and more. 

This isn’t a throwaway bit of fun though; the broadcast of Nolan’s movies shows that Epic Games is clearly planning for the future here. It’s only a matter of time before a new game trailer debuts inside Fortnite, but why stop there? Imagine live sports, fashion showcases, or heck, even educational cooking shows – all watchable with your friends, for free, in Fortnite. 

The interactive nature of gaming offers far more exciting opportunities than simply watching a screen, too. Along with 3D performances and mind-warping visuals like we saw in Travis Scott’s show, there’s room to get players more involved in the action. Broadcasting a famous race on the screen? Let players tear round a virtual recreation of the course on Fortnite’s ridiculous quadcrashers. Got a DJ set coming up? Stick simple mix-decks in-game and let players try their hand in DJ competitions. If you can think of an idea, there’s a good chance Fortnite can host it.

Depending on the partnerships Epic Games forms, there are near limitless possibilities for the future of Fortnite. And with a dedicated website set up to show what’s coming up next in Party Royale, there’s no risk of missing out. Fortnite has long been a space for many gamers to hang out with their friends each night, but with Party Royale, Epic Games is finally giving the social side of their game the attention it deserves. We don’t know what Epic is cooking up behind the works, but can’t wait to see where the guns-free island heads next.

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Henry Stenhouse was formerly a PhD physicist before being born anew in the fires of game journalism. An unashamed Super Smash Bros. fanatic, he’s still waiting for the rest of the editorial team to accept his daily challenges for an Ultimate showdown. Other genres of interest include FPS, RTS and western RPGs. You can follow him on Twitter at @Fernoface