By Cody Perez
December 30, 2019
The tale of Fortnite battle royale is an intriguing one that will go down in the video game history books as one of the most influential games ever. What it has done for the battle royale genre, live service games and video games, in general, is unprecedented. We likely won’t see the full ramifications of for years to come.
One of the standout parts of the game is the live events and experiences that happen each year. Epic Games will release various limited-time events in celebration of the holidays, a particular pop culture release and so on.
Also, there will be live experiences that you can only check out once. If you missed out, oh well, because it only happened then so you will have to watch someone’s stream of the action. Events like these are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
Since battle royale has been around, we have seen a live concert in the game, a huge battle between a giant creature and robot and more. One of the most recent events and live experiences to happen was the Fortnite Star Wars collaboration and Winterfest 2019.
The Fortnite Star Wars collaboration and Winterfest 2019 holiday event both happened around the same time. It was expected that they would send the year off with a bang.
In most cases, both events did so. This is especially true for the generally good Winterfest holiday event. However, that isn’t to say that the two experiences are without their fair share of issues. Before we get into that, it’s important to understand what these events did in the first place.
It all began with the teasing of some Star Wars content in the game several weeks before the actual event happened. There were leaks and teases that something was going to happen and it did with the reveal of a Star Destroyer ship over the map.
As this happened, players were able to purchase the Stormtrooper outfit and start blasting around battle royale, terrible aim possibly not included. But for the most part, that was it. It was a strange teasing appearance that didn’t make much sense until later.
Several weeks after that, an exclusive scene from the movie would happen in the game, along with an appearance from the film’s director. This came and went, opening the door for players to find Stormtroopers and lightsabers on the island.
Around the same time, Epic Games released the Winterfest holiday limited-time event. It followed up on the 14 Days of Fortnite from previous years and allowed players to log in each day, enjoy challenges with holiday-themed rewards and snowy changes to the map.
Though, there are some issues with both events. We are going to go over the problems plus what Epic Games can learn from those issues with future events. It all starts with the collaboration with a galaxy far, far away.
The Fortnite Star Wars collaboration is problemsome for several reasons, even more so than the Winterfest holiday event. The crossover established interesting lore that expanded upon the recently released film as well as the goodies offered in the game.
Players can get skins of some of the biggest characters in the current trilogy, including Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren. You are even able to wield a lightsaber for the first time, using it to take out Stormtroopers, other players and even deflect bullets.
While those additions are good, there are some notable missing elements of this collaboration. For one, there are no Force powers for players to use. The Force is such a crucial element of the universe, perhaps even more than the lightsabers are.
As such, it would make sense for the event to allow players to enjoy using various Force powers like pulling enemies or pushing them and even choking. These would all be excellent additions, but, understandably, they would require some extra manpower to get them to work.
In this case, it would have been easier to have one or two that players could collect along with the lightsaber that they pick up. Even still, though, that isn’t the only problem with this event. The other one is that it straddles the line between live experience and actual event too much.
It has the live experience with the scene from the film but then adds elements of the universe, making it more like an event. However, it lacks far too much content to be a legitimate event.
With all of that said, there are some major problems with the Winterfest holiday limited-time event as well. There aren’t nearly as many as the Star Wars crossover since the holiday event is mostly what players would expect from previous years.
For one, there is the fact that there is a whole new lodge where players can hang out during the duration of this event. And the rewards that players can get are substantial and interesting. While it does this right, the actual design of the event is a little bit lacking.
Sure, there are some changes to the overall map in battle royale for the holidays, but not nearly as much as you would expect. The expansion of the snowy regions is welcome, but there should be more to it than just that. It would have been nice to see more holiday decorations around the map.
The holiday trees are a nice touch, but they do stick out in areas that are mostly the same as they were before the holidays. It would be nice to see various towns and named locations on the map decked out in lights, indoor decorations and more to celebrate this joyous time of year.
Also, it would be great to see more wintery gameplay themes like snowmobiles or snowboards to maneuver around the map in. This would be especially great with the recent news that the first season of Chapter 2 would last until February 2020.
The expansion of this season for two more months roughly is surprising. It was likely because of these live events in the game. It is a lot to deal with and it is quite understandable to focus on this before moving onto the next season’s content.
However, at the same time, it would be nice to see some more gameplay changes with the addition of another smaller vehicle or something that ties more into the snowy elements of the island during the holidays.
The biggest problem is the lack of overall content, especially in the crossover with The Rise of Skywalker.
What would have helped tremendously in this event would be the release of a new limited-time mode that ties into the saga’s storied history. The two Avengers crossovers in battle royale previously, both of which were approved by Disney as well, allowing for some epic game modes.
Players use various superheroes’ weapons and powers as well as play as the tyrannical Thanos himself. These were massive events that got players from around the world to join in on the action. This is the same type of stuff that would work wonders for Star Wars.
Imagine a large-scale battlefield event where players are choosing between the Sith and the Jedi or playing as normal troopers with the chance to become one of the famous Force-wielding heroes or villains. It would be brilliant. The worst part is that the foundations are already there.
There are already Stormtroopers and lightsaber combat in the game. The only thing needed is the Force powers and a dedicated big team mode. It came so close to fulfilling its exceptional potential, but it didn’t.
This is the same issue with the Winterfest event. It is great to have some fan-favorite limited-time modes come back every day during the holidays, but it would be nice to see something new. So much of what makes up the Winterfest event is recycling old content; it would have been great for something new to appear.
We think part of the issue for the lack of content is timing. There was a lot of overlap due to the timing of the film and the holidays. It made it harder for the content to be as great as it could have been otherwise.
This is understandable since the developers are only able to do so much. At the same time, though, this is an issue that can be solved rather quickly in the future with similar events. The movies are done and over with for now (another Star Wars event can happen in the future).
But it doesn’t have to happen during the holidays or other times of the year when other big limited-time events are also happening. It could happen in those lull moments like the spring when there isn’t a whole lot going on in the game.
This allows the event to shine on its own truly and not be potentially overshadowed by something else or pull the developer in multiple directions. Here’s hoping that this is something Epic Games does moving forward so that these problems don’t happen again.
With all of that said, there is hope and potential for all sorts of events to come in 2020. In 2019, we saw a ton of live experiences and events. The possibilities are endless for what could happen in 2020. That said, there are a couple of things that we would like to see.
For one, we could see another Fortnite Star Wars collaboration happen in 2020 that fixes some of the issues from this year’s event. After all, the event this year was only able to cover the new trilogy. There are still two more trilogies of content for Epic Games to cover in battle royale.
Then other movies are coming out in 2020 that could lead to another crossover. Marvel is getting both the Black Widow standalone movie and the debut of the Eternals. Both lend themselves well to a crossover in battle royale, be it with a limited-time mode, skins and so on.
Also, there will be a chance for crossovers with more DC Comics properties with the release of movies like the Harley Quinn film, Wonder Woman 1984, and so on. The potential for next year is grand and we hope that Epic Games takes what it has learned from this year and applies it to what’s to come.