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Fortnite’s metaverse finally won me over

Published Dec 11th, 2023 4:36PM EST
LEGO Fortnite is free to play in Fortnite.
Image: Epic Games/The LEGO Group

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As impressed as I am by the enduring popularity of Fortnite after all these years, Battle Royale never really clicked with me. Competitive multiplayer just isn’t for me. As such, I hadn’t paid too much attention to Fortnite in recent years, but then I saw that three new games were launching inside of Fortnite last week. I honestly wasn’t entirely sure what the announcement meant, so I had no choice but to download the game again and see it for myself.

As of December 9, three new games live inside of Fortnite: LEGO Fortnite, Rocket Racing, and Fortnite Festival. The most impressive of the bunch is LEGO Fortnite, which is a survival crafting game similar to Minecraft or Rust. You explore huge maps, gather materials, and battle monsters while building bases out of iconic LEGO bricks. There are plenty of kinks to iron out, but even on day one, it was a fully-featured game worth playing.

The fact that they are free to play is just the cherry on top. Epic Games easily could have put all of these games behind a paywall, forcing players to buy the battle pass in order to play. Instead, anyone with an account can log in and start playing. As in Battle Royale, you can spend money on cosmetics, but the games themselves are free. In fact, all your skins even come with you in LEGO Fortnite, where your favorite outfits become LEGOified.

LEGO Fortnite alone would have been enough to get me back on board, but as noted above, it is just one of three games that launched in Fortnite last week.

Rocket Racing was the second — an arcade racer from Rocket League developer Psyonix. It’s more barebones than LEGO Fortnite, but it is also one of the most fun and approachable racing games I have played in years. The races are short and thrilling; your car can drift, fly, boost, and spin; and there are 26 tracks available at launch.

This is the game I spent the most time with over the weekend. I’d already downloaded Fortnite on my PC, but I downloaded it again on my Xbox Series X just so I could play Rocket Racing on my couch. As Psyonix continues to build on this incredibly strong foundation, I could see Rocket Racing being nearly as big as Rocket League has become.

The third and final experience is called Fortnite Festival — a music game from Guitar Hero and Rock Band developer Harmonix. If you are familiar with the studio’s previous games, you should be comfortable jumping right in, as the core gameplay loop is the same. Tap or hold the notes as they come down the track to play your song. The team even plans to add support for instrument controllers down the line, so don’t throw away that Rock Band drum kit just yet.

While most companies have abandoned their attempts to build a true metaverse, Epic Games continued steadily plugging away. Fortnite Battle Royale is constantly evolving, with fresh maps, modes, chapters, seasons, skins, and events launching every month. The game even hosts live concerts featuring the likes of Marshmello, Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, and Eminem.

With the addition of the three new experiences, Fortnite is now one step closer to being the only gaming platform you’ll need. If LEGO, Psyonix, and Harmonix find success in Fortnite, it’s only a matter of time before many others follow. Epic Games is likely already engaged in conversations with other developers who want a piece of the pie, if we’re being honest. The only question now is how many experiences can Epic fit inside a single game?

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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