Epic Games’ Fortnite is free-to-play, alpha sign-ups now open

Fortnite Early Access has started

Another high-profile developer is choosing free-to-play for their next game. Epic Games, makers of the popular third-person shooter franchise Gears of War are working on the PC exclusive Fortnite, a sandbox mix of third-person shooter and building that was announced in 2011. Think of this game as a cartoonish take on the MineCraft formula, but with the technology that only the studio behind Gears of War is capable of offering – this is the first game that uses the Unreal Engine 4, so you can expect all kinds of bells and whistles to go with the colorful, cartoon look.

Fortnite is going to be in the May cover of Game Informer and all kinds of info was revealed about the game, which is going to launch as free-to-play and the alpha sign-ups are already open at the official website.

Epic Games isn't bothering too much with a story for Fortnite, since the focus of the game is building and shooting demons. Players have to build and strengthen their forts by targeting a surface and choosing a material, from wood to stone and metal, so that they can build everything needed: floors, walls, windows, stairs, several types of defense mechanisms such as spikes, turrets, mines and more. The zombies, or Husks, will spawn from giant storm clouds that may be closed if the team manages to use a device called Atlas. So far, there are three campaigns available, with different lengths: 10, 20 and 50 hours. Campaigns are procedurally-generated and feature plenty of destructible elements. Players have to gather materials and build their forts before nightfall, when the zombie storm comes. Players only survive if they manage to close the storm clouds and when the morning comes it's time to repair the fort.

So far, four character classes are known: the Constructor builds faster with less resources; the Ninja has a double-jump ability and is an expert at melee, as well as having katanas, shurikens and smoke bombs; the Commando is a class skilled at combat and the use of firearms; the Scavenger is great at gathering resources faster than the others. Obviously, cooperation between all classes is essential to defeat the enemies and more classes are going to be added along the way.

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