Epic, the maker of the insanely popular, cross-platform first-person shooter online game Fortnite, has ‘fessed up to a gameplay misstep when it dropped a super powerful new weapon into the battle royale arena earlier this month — triggering a major fan backlash.
Complaints boiled down to it being unfair for the overpowered weapon to exist in standard game modes, given the massive advantage bestowed on whoever happened to be lucky enough to find it.
Earlier this month Epic had trailed the forthcoming Infinity Blade as “a weapon fit for a king”.
Instead it managed to drastically upset the balance of play. Without adequate counter weapons/strategies to prevail against the weapon Fortnite fans were rightly mad as hell.
But on Friday, three days after launching the blade, Epic pulled the “overpowered” weapon from the game — admitting it had failed to provide “good counters”, and was “re-evaluating our approach to Mythic items”.
Turns out even billions in funding and tens of millions of obsessively engaged fans can’t shield a games maker against making some piss-poor gameplay decisions.
A few days earlier Epic had posted a discussion thread on Reddit saying it wanted to provide “more context on item philosophy”, and trailing “upcoming changes to the Blade” — such as removing the ability of gamers to build and harvest when wielding the Blade so as to add some risk to holding it — so it was still hoping to win fans over at that point. And indeed appeared to be doubling down on its mythic items push.
Then it also wrote that its intention with adding a mythic tier of items to Fortnite is to provide “new and flavorful ways to interact with the map and generally shake up normal play across default modes”.
Which is of course another way of saying it doesn’t want its highly engaged fanbase to get bored and stop pouring cash into its coffers.
However Epic clearly failed to build in the necessary balance into the Infinity Blade from the start. So pulling the blade was the right move, and Fortnite fans should be happy it’s realized it needs to rethink and factor in their concerns.
It’s not clear whether Epic’s re-evaluation will result in mythic items being ditched entirely.
Although, with the right balancing characteristics — such as being time-limited and/or locked to certain game modes — there could still be a place for a little epic chaos in Fortnite to further up the fun. Just don’t go doing anything too crazy, alright?