Last week, Epic removed the building side from Fortnite’s casual mode: and made our own Morgan fall back in love with the biggest battle royale around. Wider reaction was positive, too, and it wasn’t long before rumours started flying around that the intent was to make the no-build mode a permanent feature of the game.
Now it’s official. Epic has announced that a no-build BR mode will be a permanent option in Fortnite, and it’s been named Zero Build. It can be found on the Discover page and accommodates solo players, duos, trios, and four-person squads (why don’t they just call ’em quads?).
It also comes with a different default loadout: all players have the recharging overshield (after all, one of the main purposes of building was defensive cover), on top of which is the Apex-lite movement system already added to the game. There’s a whiff of Apex in the above trailer for the mode actually, which amounts to a series of explosions synchronised to a song.
Moving away from a core feature—one that is even part of the title—may seem wild if we were talking about another game. But Fortnite’s not removing building, just offering an alternative, and if one thing has defined this game over its life it is reinvention. I just compared it to Apex but, honestly, you can’t compare Fortnite to any of the BR competition: it’s a much baggier, bigger, and weirder beast. Epic has created a platform that can host Ariana Grande concerts and a Martin Luther King museum, then move onto an alien invasion fought off by the Terminator, Batman, and a walking fish.
Building will remain a key part of Fortnite’s ecosystem, because it’s what lies behind the amazing variety of custom game modes. And those who still want to play the BR with the building will be able to. As someone who always found the building a bit fiddly and distracting, I’m delighted, but I’m also glad I’ll still get to see players pulling off wild builds mid-battle and sniping someone from a turret they just built.
Elsewhere in Fortnite news, Epic announced it would be donating all money from in-game purchases made until April 3 to humanitarian relief organisations operating in the Russo-Ukrainian war. Epic also chose to do this as it launched Chapter 3 Season 2, which is surely the time when most in-game money is being spent on the battle pass and new cosmetics. It has raised over $70 million so far: and that figure’s a few days out of date.