Fortnite’s third birthday: the game’s best and most controversial moments

As Fortnite Battle Royale turns three this weekend, here are some of the game’s biggest moments of wonder and also its most controversial moments over the past three years.

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the impact Fortnite has had on the landscape of gaming since it came out, and today you have companies like Disney clamouring to have Marvel or Star Wars-related products appear in the game.

According to a recent report from GAME, Fortnite has collected over 10 million years of total playtime. If you’re trying to figure out the maths, this means, collectively, Fortnite has been played for longer than humans have been on Earth.

To put that into perspective, World of Warcraft, which has been out since 2004, has clocked in 6 million years of play-time overall.

Fortnite’s current season is all about Marvel (Epic Games)

From the litigious and brazen nature of its creator Epic Games, to fears of addictive gameplay and the downright glorious in-game live events, let’s take a look at Fortnite over the past three years.

Top moments of Fortnite

1. The first major crossover with Marvel for the release of Infinity War

It was a move no one saw coming — Marvel made a deal with Epic to bring Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet to the game in 2018, to coincide with the release of the film.

Before this point, all of the crossovers were kind of stale and hit diminishing returns, but this was the first one to really take off.

This has continued since, with different crossovers such as last season’s DC, before returning back to Disney’s Marvel again after having Deadpool feature heavily at the start of the year.

Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet in-game (Epic Games)

However, if Epic wants to keep innovating with Fornite then it would be fun to have a new season which is completely removed from the likes of Marvel, DC or Star Wars in order to help keep things a bit more interesting.

2. The Device Doomsday live event

The conclusion of the Season 2, Chapter 2 Doomsday event saw players lifted into the sky as the Doomsday Device was launched from the Agency, a point of interest in the centre of the map, firing directly at the Storm.

During this time, players were sometimes transported into what looked like an office, where they were being spoken to by men in white shirts.

We also saw glimpses of people in meeting rooms, discussing things which you weren’t able to make out.

This event made way for Fortnite Season 3, flooding the entire map and the addition of Aquaman as the next battle pass skin, thus kicking off more superhero-related content.

It was another awesome interactive live event for Fortnite, but it was on a much smaller scale than the infamous Black Hole.

3. Travis Scott’s Astronomical Event

Over 12.3 million tuned in to the Astronomical Event, which set a new record for Fortnite and paved the way for future performances.

Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott went on tour in Fortnite (Epic Games)

The first performance by Travis Scott was genuinely astonishing; everything from the visuals to the music to flying characters through the sky, the logistics of making this event possible is a feat in itself.

As well as breaking the previous record of the most concurrent players the game had ever seen, Twitter was flooded with praise for the event.

During the show, people were lifted up into the sky and then flown around, travelling through time and space to visit areas which looked like the original Fortnite map.

The previous record of players in-game was set during another live performance by Marshmello, which saw 10.7 million virtual attendees.

4. The introduction of Party Royale

Epic Games introduced Party Royale earlier this year and the idea behind it is actually incredible.

In this mode, there are no weapons or fighting of any kind. It’s essentially a safe space where players can hang out, watch films or musical performances together and just have a great time from the comfort of their home.

The addition of Party Royale might have been planned all along because of the increasing number of performances taking place in the game, but considering the Covid-19 pandemic this year, it was the perfect tonic for people who missed going to see such things.

No weapons, no building, just chill. (Epic Games)

This is helping to turn Fortnite into something much larger than a battle royale game and into something of a real community space, which is always adding new events to jump into.

5. The Black Hole event

Of course, the best moment in Fortnite’s history is the time that it destroyed the entire in-game world and took its servers offline, seemingly spelling the end of the game for good.

If you missed it, the Black Hole live event saw the entire Fortnite battle royale map disappear as it was slowly consumed by a black hole, completely destroying everything.

This is all that was left after the Black Hole event (Epic Games)

No one knew what was going to happen next and even six hours after the event Twitch streams were still broadcasting a shot of a black hole to see what would happen.

The truth of the event is that it was nothing more than an extremely ambitious server downtime announcement, taking the game offline for more than a day to implement a brand new season and patch. But it still was an epic move from the game’s developers.

Most controversial moments in Fortnite

For every good thing that Fortnite and Epic Games pulls off, there’s always plenty of negativity surrounding the game.

1. The PUGB similarities

When Fortnite first came out, it was often viewed as a “rip-off” of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, which is seen as the original battle royale game after it came out in 2017.

PUBG introduced all the staples we see today in the likes of Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone and so on.

Fortnite certainly did a lot more to popularise the genre, but there’s no denying that there are some similarities between the two games.

Complete the Doctor Doom challenges for a free emote (Epic Games)

Now we’re a bit further on in the game’s lifecycle, it seems to have found its own identity and events like live music go a long way in helping the game.

2. Prince Harry really doesn’t like Fortnite

Harry was speaking at an event organised by mental health charity Heads Together, during which he gave an impassioned and scathing summation of Fortnite, saying: ‘It’s created to addict – an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible”.

He also mentioned that he knew parents are exasperated with the video game due to how much time children spend playing it.

The Duke of Sussex even went as far as suggesting that the game be banned outright, simply because he thinks it is that damaging.

Not necessarily a big controversial Fortnite moment, but when royalty starts pointing fingers at your game for being too addictive for children, this might be cause for concern.

3. Fortnite addiction worries

Prince Harry isn’t the only one to raise issues about the addictive nature of the game.

Criticism levelled at Epic includes the fact that teenagers and children make up a lot of the demographic playing this game and that the developers often lock the best items for the game in the store or behind a paywall which will, in turn, entice people to spend money at every turn.

From forums on Mumsnet of kids ‘accidentally’ spending over £50 to reports about millions of pounds being spent in-game from The Sun, people can’t seem to control their wallets around the game.

Bear in mind these cosmetics and so on have no impact on gameplay and don’t give other people an edge, but when they look so cool it’s hard to resist.

To the credit of Epic, the company has added features including parental controls to help stop any accidental purchases leading to exorbitant bills.

4. That time Epic Games sued a 14-year-old

Epic Games once accused a 14-year-old boy of copyright infringement among other claims of selling cheats and sued him for damages.

At the time, Epic argued that these cheats were altering its copyrighted work by “using, marketing, selling, and trafficking in cheat software” for Fortnite.

The original complaint also alleged the “Defendant’s cheat software injects unauthorized computer code into Epic’s copyright protected Fortnite code to allow its users to cheat at Fortnite”.

The boy, known as CBV, was the owner of a YouTube channel where he showed off videos of cheats in Fortnite, linking to a website where people could buy his stuff.

The case was eventually settled in October 2019.

5. Apple vs Epic Games

Epic has had its fair share of legal battles, including the current ongoing dispute between Apple and Epic which is centred around digital store policies.

Epic tried to add a new direct payment system to Fortnite which violated Apple’s policies. In response, Apple booted Fortnite off of the App Store which led to legal retaliation from Epic.

So far, the fallout from this has seen Fortnite pulled from the Apple App Store, which means you can no longer download it and, even if you had it still on your phone, you can’t play any new content because updates are no longer applied to the iOS version.

The original Fortnite game, Save the World, is no longer playable on Mac operating systems either.

In a legal filing, Epic Games has said Fortnite and any of its other games could also be completely banned from iPhones and other Apple devices now for a year.

The developers of Fortnite cited that it is “likely to suffer irreparable harm” if the ban of Fortnite remains in place, trying to leverage the game’s popularity. Apple, it seems, is unfazed by such things. At the time of writing, the lawsuit is still ongoing and neither side is showing any signs of letting up.

For something that is only three years old, Fortnite already has an extremely impressive and somewhat controversial reputation.

At the pace it is gong, we wonder what the game will look like even one more year from now, let alone another three.

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