The studio head of Gears 5 developer The Coalition says that if it had been up to him, Fortnite would never have seen the light of day. In an interview with Game Informer, Rod Fergusson, who worked at Epic Games for seven years before leaving in August 2012, said that he “would have cancelled” the battle royale early in its development.
Fergusson says that “if I had stayed at Epic, I would have cancelled Fortnite.” That’s not all, however, as Fergusson says that before leaving the company, where he was director of production, he had tried to shut down development.
“Fortnite, when it was Save the World, was a project that just had some challenges, and as director of production at that time, that game would not have passed my bar for something that we should continue, to keep going.” Fortunately for Epic, Fergusson was unsuccessful in his attempts to shut down the game, and while Save the World has had a rocky time since its release in 2017, the game’s battle royale mode has turned it into a global phenomenon.
Fergusson says that he’s “super happy” for Epic’s success, but there was just a hint of smugness to what he said next: “Anytime people look at me and say ‘don’t you feel bad?’ I say, ‘No you should feel really good, because that game you love and that’s a worldwide sensation would not exist had I stayed at Epic’.”
I’m sure there are some players out there who wish that Fergusson had stayed at Epic just that little bit longer, but it certainly seems as though the developer is lucky it stuck to its guns on Fortnite for a little bit longer.