How An Uber Ride Led To Fortnite Getting A Battle Royale Mode

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Before developer Epic decided to switch gears and build a battle royale mode for Fortnite, there was an Uber ride to Disney in 2017. That drive led to the decision to alter the game’s course and arguably the video game industry as a whole.

Donald Mustard, former chief creative officer at Epic, revealed to Game File (via Kotaku) when the company ultimately agreed to a battle royale mode in Fortnite. “It was Tim Sweeney [founder and CEO of Epic] and Paul Meegan, who was the president of Epic at the time, [and] Kim Libreri, Epic’s CTO,” Mustard recalled. “The four of us were in the back of an Uber in California, headed to a meeting at Disney… We were already toying with this [idea that] we need to do a battle royale. We should do this. And what if we did it in Fortnite?”

Obviously, the group came to the conclusion to bring battle royale to Fortnite, which previously was a survival-based PvE shooter. Now, instead, there would be a focus on a 100-player PvP mode, which was popularized at the time by PUBG. (In fact, PUBG even had a lawsuit against Epic and Fortnite before dropping it in 2018.)

During the drive, Mustard added that he actually started writing up a one-page design document that laid the groundwork for Fortnite’s battle royale mode. That’s not all, either. “A school bus is going by us in traffic, and I’m like: Players are going to be on a bus in the sky, and we’re going to jump out of it,” Mustard said. So the iconic Battle Bus was born out of the Uber ride, too.

This isn’t the only major revelation Mustard has unveiled to Game File. The developer also disclosed how Metroid’s Samus Aran almost arrived in Fortnite, but Nintendo wasn’t okay with the bounty hunter appearing on platforms outside of Switch.

Fortnite is known for its collaborations, with Billie Eilish coming to Fortnite Festival today. This week will also see Fortnite allowing players to block its most toxic emotes, such as Take the L. Meanwhile, in Lego Fortnite, a pig can now be your buddy as part of the Farm Friends update.

Earlier this year, Disney invested $1.5 billion into Epic that includes a “persistent universe” in Fortnite.