if you played Fortnite With a group of teens recently, you probably quickly realized that for many players, the game is less about killing fellow players and staying alive, but more about just hanging out with friends in a shared 3D space. Epic now leans explicitly on this use case with a new “Party Royale” mode that asks players to “put their weapons and [materials] behind.”
That description comes from an e-mail sent by epic to a number by Fortnite content creators in recent days, inviting them to a test of the “experimental and evolving space” that began late Friday night. data miners ShiinaBR and Lucas7Yoshi have extracted a detailed description of the limited time mode, adding that players can “hang out with friends, play games, perfect your skydive and more. The party has just begun!”
Data miners also have: extracted a overhead image of a new card for the Party Royale mode, apparently nicknamed “Papaya” in game files. Icons on that map and names of variables in the code strongly suggest minigames based on gliding, foot and vehicle races, motorboat challenges and even a football game, as well as ‘theater’ and ‘hub’ spaces for gatherings.
Introducing a Combat Free Fortnite mode comes just days after Epic announced that a record 27.7 million players attended an in-game Travis Scott concert, which featured a size-changing version of the rapper performing amid an interstellar light show. That number includes: 12.3 million concurrent players for Scott’s first of five in-game appearances, up from the 10.7 million people who gathered early last year to see EDM artist Marshmello perform in-game.
An online shooter minus the shooting
In recent years, single-player games from Assassin’s Creed until soma have experimented with “safe mode” options that remove (or severely reduce) the threats, allowing players to explore the game’s environments at their leisure. Massively multiplayer RPGs have also long featured combat-free areas for players who want to focus more on socializing and role-playing with friends.
But Fortnite stands out as the first major online shooter we know of to experiment with completely removing shooting from much of the game. While some have tried to play such games in “pacifist mode” in the past, these players were generally treated as eccentrics or “conscientious objectors” rather than as a core audience worth seeing.
It remains to be seen how popular Fortnite‘s new combat-free option will be. But we can look back on this mode as a turning point where Fortnite cemented the transition from purely online shooter to more general metaverse.