Watch Fortnite’s Minecraft-lite construction system demoed at PAX East


Fortnite is Epic’s play for the post-Minecraft market. Half third-person action game, half sky-high tower builder, it’s the most fascinating proposition they’ve pitched in a decade. Last week, it was shown to an eager public in Boston – and now to you, dear reader.

In the video above, the player is seen scavenging in a town for wood, returning to a nearby forest clutching picket fencing with which to build a humble abode. If she takes too long about it, it’ll be night time, and with the night comes monsters. She quickly fashions a makeshift hut from a predetermined blueprint, which is just as speedily disassembled during the night by the game’s basic enemies – husks.

After that, the player sets to work rebuilding her hut – this time using advanced features, including stairs. Bungalows are for the creatively bankrupt. While the game appears to let you throw up structures in a near-instant, a simple ‘framing’ interface allows for more complex constructs. Upon selecting to plant a wall during the video, for instance, the player is met with a 3×3 grid. She marks placements for windows and doors by removing squares from the grid, before finalising the wall’s placement.

The framing system can be used to create lovely aesthetic curves that capture the morning sun just so, or to cut a chunk out of a rooftop for a sniper’s nest. The idea, it seems, is to accommodate both survival-focused types, who want to be able to have a castle now if they have the right materials, and those of us who’ve been weaned on Minecraft.

It all runs in Unreal 4, supports co-op play, is PC exclusive, and looks terribly ambitious. It’s due out by the end of the year. Do you think it’ll work?