Popular shooter Fortnite removed friendly fire. This feature allows users to shoot their own team mates. While present in the game initially, it was removed to combat in-game toxicity Fortnite developer Epic Games said. Fortnite is currently playable on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and iOS with an Android version of the game in the works, friendly fire is a massive component for most shooters. Many Fortnite players claim that they were being killed by their teammates for their gear or simply to troll.
“People were saying, ‘People are killing me for my stuff’ or ‘People are killing me just to troll’ or whatever it might be, but we also understood that it was an important part of the genre up to that point,” said Ben Lewis-Evans, User Experience Lead Researcher at Epic Games to Polygon. “We had a different type of game with more explosive weapons, with faster action that had come before as well. The original decision to turn it off was just an experiment. ‘Let’s turn this off, see if it is negative.’”
The Fortnite team at Epic Games believed that if the overall community response to removing friendly fire was negative, it would bring it back. But if fans were fine with the move, it would be pulled from the game completely.
“We had theories about what could be impacted by [turning friendly fire] on and off, but you can look at things like, ‘Did people play more field games? ‘Were they playing more with friends? ‘Was the number of accidental deaths going up or down?,’” Lewis-Evans said. “How do you tell what’s a general team kill? Another problem with team killing is that the player thinks it’s genuine, but it’s accidental. It doesn’t matter if they were, though, because the emotional impact still carries.
“If you think someone did something on purpose, it doesn’t matter if it was accidental. It affects your experience.”
With an ever-increasing player base thanks to Fortnite iOS, other issues have cropped up such as server outages. How Epic manages these concerns in the weeks to come will be interesting to see. Are you playing Fortnite? What do you think of the game? Let us know in the comments.
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