If you still think of Fortnite as a colorful, cartoony battle royale game, you might be surprised to learn the extent of Epic’s true ambitions.
Fortnite’s big, chaotic fight to the death matches may still get top billing, but Epic has steadily been expanding the horizons of its marquee game to be more of a game platform than a simple standalone game. Fortnite’s psychedelic live events, kaiju Ariana Grande concerts and its endless user-generated sandbox worlds were all hints about its final destination.
X may never be an everything app, but Fortnite is already an everything game. And it just got a lot bigger.
Rapid fire over consecutive days last week, Epic launched three new games within the game, starting with the survival title Lego Fortnite on Thursday. Fortnite Festival, a rhythm game from the studio behind Rock Band, and Rocket Racing, a fast-paced racing game from the makers of Rocket League, followed quickly thereafter.
Epic and Lego’s new collaboration peaked at 2.45 million concurrent players shortly after launch. While Fortnite’s regular modes like Zero Build and classic Battle Royale racked up respectable numbers over the weekend and people also dipped their toes into the other two new games, Lego Fortnite debuted on a whole different level.
Lego Fortnite, a cozy hybrid of well-loved games like Minecraft, Animal Crossing and Valheim (more on that in our review later), consistently floated around those same lofty peaks, and by Monday evening sat around 1.1 million players — itself an epic tally that would put to shame plenty of hits on the Steam charts. The live “Big Bang” event that introduced the trio of new games a little over a week ago saw 11.6 million concurrent players, attendance in the ballpark of Fortnite’s live shows for artists like Marshmello or Travis Scott.
Lego Fortnite is just one corner of Epic’s multiverse, but it’s clearly the hottest one at the moment. Fortnite’s grand total of concurrent online players sits somewhere way above that (combining all Fortnite Creative modes, ranked play, Battle Royale, etc.), but mostly it’s noteworthy that a family-friendly game in an entirely different genre is bringing in this much buzz. If Lego Fortnite can maintain its momentum with a steady drip of compelling content that deepens the game, its free-to-play, fun for the whole family multiplayer experience may have nowhere to go but up.