By this point, almost everyone has heard of Fortnite. The free-to-play game from Epic Games has become a full-on juggernaut in the last couple of years. However, there may be an alternate timeline where Fortnite never made it to the public, and it probably would’ve been because of Rod Fergusson. While he may have been joking, it definitely seems like he wasn’t particularly hyped about the project during an interview.
Fergusson made the comment while at a Game Informer E3 2019 livestream:
While the interview was ostensibly to discuss the upcoming Xbox One-exclusive Gears of War 5, it took a slight detour when Game Informer’s Ben Hansen brought up Fortnite. Being at Epic Games at the time of Fortnite’s conception, Fergusson did play a part in bringing Fortnite to life.
When asked about his feelings on Fortnite’s meteoric rise in popularity, Fergusson commented that if he hadn’t left Epic, things would’ve turned out very differently. “If I had stayed at Epic, I would’ve cancelled Fortnite,” he said. While it could be taken on a joke, he did double down on his statement. He even stated he tried to cancel Fortnite while at Epic.
He didn’t elaborate too much on it, but did note it was a project “with challenges.” According to Fergusson, the project “would not have passed” his standards.
It should be noted, however, that this is specifically mentioning Fortnite: Save the World. The battle royale component, which made Fortnite the success it is, wasn’t created until long after Fergusson left. In fact, Fortnite’s become so popular that Epic Games has even pushed other projects aside to focus on it, and that likely would’ve included Gears of War had it not been acquired by Microsoft. Unfortunately, that massive success may have come at a cost for the developers at Epic, as well.
Of course, Fortnite did make it to release, becoming one of the most popular video games of all time. It’s so popular that it’s recently crossed into the world of licensed tie-ins, featuring content based off of John Wick and even The Avengers. It’s also the game that started Sony’s slow acceptance of cross-platform play.