Design Chat: Weapons and the Environment

Fortnite Preview screenshot onpage 1 1024x576 - Design Chat: Weapons and the Environment

Welcome to the first part of a new series of "Design Chats” where we present some of the upcoming changes we're planning to make to the game, and explain our thinking behind them.
One of the ongoing initiatives of our Design team is to make the world of Fortnite feel more immersive and natural. An upcoming change in our v3.5 to support this initiative is to rework how weapons interact with the environment.
In Save the World your pickaxe is the only weapon that does decent damage to the world around you, with other melee weapons doing minimal damage, and ranged weapons (including explosives) doing nothing at all. We think this feels really strange, especially for a world where nearly everything around you can be destroyed, and have been considering changing it for some time.

The primary reason guns and explosives don't damage the world already is because we didn't want players in the heat of combat having to worry about missing a shot and blowing up part of their own structure. We also want to ensure the pickaxe and its set of damage upgrades remains the most effective path to improved harvesting throughout the game.
So with all that in mind, here are the changes we're currently planning for update v3.5:

  • Make ranged weapons do damage to the environment

    • The rate at which they destroy items will vary based on the specific weapon, with guns that shoot light bullet weapons doing minimal damage, while rockets and grenades will take out many objects in the world with a single shot.
    • Objects damaged/destroyed by them will NOT return resources. We don't want to introduce long-distance harvesting, and want to be able to have explosives blow things up quickly without competing with the pickaxe.
  • Melee weapons will have their environmental damage increased.

    • Increase the damage axes do vs wood, and hammers/hardware do vs stone, to introduce a bit of flavor and meet expectations about how those items should work.
    • When "on level" they'll still be behind pickaxes, even before considering the damage boost pickaxes get from Weak Points
  • Prevent all weapons (aside from the Pickaxe) from damaging any structure you or your team has built.

Thanks for reading and you’ll be able to try out these changes in next week’s update!

Senior Systems Designer

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