Epic Games rewinds time with Season OG, reignites Fortnite fervor

Epic Games rewinds time with Season OG, reignites Fortnite fervor

Flashback to 2018.

You step off the school bus, itching to get home and power up your PlayStation.

There’s one word on every middle schooler’s lips.

One thing on every teen boy’s mind.

Fortnite.

The mere mention of the new Battle Pass, skin drops, weapon releases or map changes could whip any student into a Fortnite frenzy.

Fast forward to 2023, and Fortnite’s latest season has brought back the OG player base, showing the new generation how it’s really done.

This season is like a time machine, transporting former players back to the beginning, returning fan-favorite items and points of interest.

Epic Games, the brains behind Fortnite, took the concept of “survival of the fittest” and ran with it, stranding each player on an island armed with nothing but a pickaxe and a dream.

The format of the game—a battle royale, pitting 100 players against each other—isn’t groundbreaking. Titles like “H1Z1,” “PUBG: Battlegrounds” and even “Minecraft” popularized the genre years before Fortnite pickaxed its way onto the scene.

So, what made Fortnite stand out? What set it apart?

The game’s cartoonish art style, its weekly updates, the reward system, the “Battle Pass” and, above all, the building mechanic.

The game’s building mechanic is a literal game-changer. In the one vs. 99 winner-take-all battle to the death, you aren’t just fighting opponents; you’re creating the battleground.

The game’s unique feature lets players construct structures on the fly using materials gathered from around the island. Trees, walls, cars—everything’s fair game.

There you are, in the heat of battle, bullets flying, and in the blink of an eye, you throw up a fortress to shield yourself or a set of stairs to gain the high ground.

Why was this the topic of every middle schooler’s discussion?

The in-game live events, like the two global concerts featuring EDM mega-star Marshmello and multi-platinum rapper Travis Scott (an event that drew a whopping 12 million players alone).

The real game-changer—Fortnite was free to play. Unlike most games at the time, the battle royale mode didn’t cost a dime, making the shooter more accessible than ever.

This winning combo turned Fortnite into a sensation, boasting 125 million active players and snagging awards like “Best Multiplayer Game” at The Game Awards in 2018, just a year after its release.

The triumph continued for four years, with the player base surging to a staggering 272 million by May 2022.

Yet, after five years of undisputed dominance, those jaw-dropping numbers began to dip, steadily declining over the next year.

Players pointed fingers at pointless updates, a growing skill gap and Epic Games ignoring fan feedback.

More than anything, the game just wasn’t the same. Fortnite fans wanted to flashback to the game’s glory days, to rewind to the game they remembered loving.

So Epic Games did just that.

On Nov. 3, the developers dropped the “Fortnite OG” update, announced in a press release, letting players “drop in the original Island once again.” 

This update is a time-traveling adventure, revisiting popular map locations like Salty Springs, Paradise Palms and the beloved Tilted Towers.

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  • Fan favorite POI Tilted Towers was introduced in Season 2 and stayed on the island until Season 9. Image Courtesy of: Epic Games Press Release

  • The OG drop was a blast from the past–returning classic weapons like the Assault Rifle, Pump Shotgun and Hunting Rifle to the island. Image Courtesy of: Epic Games Press Release

  • Items like the Damage Trap, Grappler and Boogie Bomb returned in the Nov. 3 release. Image Courtesy of: Epic Games Press Release

  • The OG drop returned epic rides from the vault like the Shopping Cart and All Terrain Kart. Image Courtesy of: Epic Games Press Release

  • The OG Season brought the OG Pass, adding 50 new in-game items to the selection of classics. Image Courtesy of: Epic Games Press Release

Beginning with Chapter One: Season Five and ending with Chapter One: Season X, each week unveiled “a different phase of Battle Royale’s past.”

The blast from the past brought back literal blasts from the past–classic weapons, items and vehicles like the tactical submachine gun, damage traps and shopping carts.

With every new season comes a fresh Battle Pass, and Season OG delivers. 

Old Battle Pass skins return in crazy combinations, fusions of past level 100 reward skins—blends like Season Four’s top-tier skin Omega and Season Five’s Ragnarok skin, creating the amalgamation “Omegarok,” Season OG’s premier skin.

Epic Games even roped in platinum-certified producer Metro Boomin to remix the nostalgic Season One menu music.

The result? 

Fortnite’s most epic day to date, with 44.7 million players leaping out of the legendary Battle Bus and a whopping 102 million hours of play on Saturday, Nov. 4, according to a tweet from the game’s X account.

But, unfortunately, the fun concludes on Dec. 2 with “The Big Bang” event, leaving fans pondering the next chapter for the battle royale.

A hot debate is whether the original map will still be playable after the season ends. 

It’s hard to imagine it won’t be, as the return of the Chapter One map was the catalyst for Season OG’s success. It’d be a shocker to see it vanish.

What’s the lesson game developers can glean from Season OG?

Sometimes, new doesn’t mean better. 

Nowadays, games skyrocket to global fame and crash down just as fast due to bad updates. It’s crucial to listen to the fans because they’re the ones you’re aiming to please, they are your target audience. 

Now that Fortnite’s back on top, you can bet students are seeking “victory royales” and huddling with their squad, asking, “Where we droppin’?” as Season OG wraps up.

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