Fortnite has grown to be such a widespread phenomenon both in and out of the gaming realm that it’s hard to imagine it not ever happening at all. That’s exactly what would’ve happened had a former Epic Games director had his way according to comments from former director of production at Epic Games Rod Fergusson. The current head of the Gears 5 studio The Coalition said that he tried to cancel Fortnite before he left the team, and if he had stayed, he absolutely would have done it.
Fergusson spoke to Game Informer about his time with Epic Games in his previous role and divulged details on what he thought about Fortnite at the time. He said that he definitely would’ve cancelled the game had he stayed there and that he tried to do so when he had that role. Fergusson said the game didn’t pass his bar for something the team should’ve kept pursuing at the time.
“If I stayed at Epic, I would have canceled Fortnite. Absolutely," Fergusson told Game Informer. "Before I left I tried to cancel Fortnite. When it was just Save the World, that was a project that had some challenges. As the director of production at the time, that game would not have passed my bar for something we should have continued to keep going.”
One important detail to keep in mind regarding Fergusson’s comments is that the Fortnite he would’ve cancelled wasn’t the same version of the game that everyone knows of now. For Fergusson’s comments pertain to the Save the World version of the game which is not the one that anyone who’s only remotely aware of Fortnite will know of. People who play the game or followed its development will know that the co-op, PvE-focused Save the World was the main game in the beginning before the battle royale component was released as a secondary mode. Had Save the World been cancelled though, it’s quite likely we would’ve never seen the battle royale game that became so popular.
There’d certainly have been a ripple effect had that been the case. Other battle royale games might’ve not ever existed either – or at least wouldn’t have come out so quickly – and cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and other platforms might still be up for negotiations had Epic Games not pushed talks forward.
Gears 5 is the game Fergusson is working on which thankfully shows no signs of being cancelled now that it has a September 10th release date for the Xbox One.