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'Fortnite' finally sheds its Early Access label

Rachel England
Contributing Writer
Fortnite

Fortnite: Battle Royale will celebrate its three-year anniversary at the end of July, and in a symbolic gesture recognizing its immense popularity, it’s going to shed its Early Access label. As a multi-billion dollar title with hundreds of millions of players and numerous updates, seasons and events, Epic has decided that the multiplayer shooter, as well as its PvE sibling Save the World, will no longer carry the tag as the company shifts the development cycles for parts of its popular franchise. Its Save the World portion will remain a premium title, and not become free-to-play as some originally hoped.

“Development of new content will slow down after this official release,” Epic said in a statement, noting that Save the World will move to ongoing annual scheduling, and that its main story is now “complete.” The company added that in the coming months, Save the World will no longer be able to support all upcoming Fortnite Battle Royale cosmetic purchases, but Epic will let players know when this is slated to happen (your existing library of cosmetics will keep functioning in both modes).

However, as Epic says, “The adventure doesn’t end here for Save the World.” All paid Founders will have their Founder’s Packs upgraded to the next level and can unlock all the rewards included in the upgraded pack for free. Meanwhile, Ultimate Edition owners will be granted the new Metal Team Leader Pack and 8,000 V-Bucks. The Metal Team Leader Pack introduces a new Hero, the Papa Bear weapon schematic, Warning Bow Back Bling, the Metal Team leader Challenges, and entry to Save the World at a new $20 price point.

With a slower development cycle, Epic will transition to a new seasonal activity named Ventures (arrival tbc), which introduces paths of continual progression and new levels to climb. “Conquering the challenges in Ventures will earn you seasonal experience which impacts the level of difficulty you encounter, weapons you find, and the seasonal rewards that you earn,” the company explains. “Reaching higher seasonal Ventures levels unlocks Supercharger materials that can raise the level of items in your main collection — beyond their current cap.” 

It’s no secret that Save the World fans had felt the game’s PvE mode had been a little neglected compared to the hugely successful Battle Royale mode, and there had been calls for it to go free so players could easily get rewards in the PvE game and bring them over. But consistent delays in the release of the initially-touted free-to-play release suggested that was probably never on the cards.