In case you’ve been out of the loop for the past few months and need an update on the latest trends, look no farther than Fortnite Battle Royale. This game has taken the video game world by storm. Released for early access (and therefore, free for all players) on July 25th, 2017, Fortnite was co-developed by Epic Games and People Can Fly. The game consists of a single-player survival mode and the more-popular multiplayer, Battle Royale mode. Before we get into why it’s so much fun and popular, we should first explain what the game is.

Fortnite is basically the video game version of The Hunger Games. The lobbies hold 100 players total, making them larger than the lobbies of most multiplayer games, which hold anywhere from 6 to 20 players maximum. The game is pretty simple, which is why I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for a game of this kind to be released. All 100 players fly into a large map on a bus called the Battle Bus, which moves in a straight-line path. This map isn’t just large; it’s colossal. Each player chooses a point to deploy off the bus and will eventually land in some location on the map. The map is so extensive that there is a very good chance you will not see an enemy (who are the other 99 players) when you land. That being said, there are some spots that are more populated than others, but more on that later.

The object of the game is to be the last alive. Upon landing, every player has an axe in their inventory. The axe is used to cut down trees, walls, plants, garbage, and virtually anything to get materials. When I say anything, I mean anything. Most of the objects in the game can be destroyed for materials. You use materials to build structures (hence the “Fort” in the name of the game). Around the map are weapons in random locations. Get the weapons to fight off enemies. The weapons are all in a hierarchy; common at the bottom, then uncommon, then rare, then legendary, then epic. The higher the weapon grade is, the better the weapon.

The map periodically shrinks down in size to spark combat amongst players. If you are caught outside the “new map,” your player takes damage. If you run out of health, your character perishes and you go to start a new game. Around the map are ammo boxes for your weapons, as well as bandages and potions to restore health. There are also some miscellaneous weapons such as a jet pack and even a portable bush that you can use for cover. When a player is beaten, they drop all of the items and weapons they are carrying. So say I am carrying 2 epic weapons but am shot down. I will then drop everything I’m carrying, including those 2 epic weapons, for others to pick up and use.

So why the popularity? For starters, the game (minus the battle pass, which grants extra bonuses and customization) is free for download, so people who would otherwise not purchase it for $60 can get virtually the entire game for free. The Battle Royale mode offers 3 different choices of gameplay: first is Solo, which is you versus 99 others. The next is Duos, which is 50 teams of 2. The final mode is Squads, which is 25 teams of 4. Playing with friends allows socialization, which is always a motivation to play. Finally and most important is that the game is overall engaging and therefore addictive. Each game is different than the last. The satisfaction of getting a win is like none other. It’s like the lottery; you never know when the odds will be with you. And because of that, we keep thinking that the next game will be the one. And so we keep playing. And that is why I believe Fortnite has enjoyed the success it’s got and has the reputation it has.

Feature Image via Shutterstock/Michael Moloney