It's Fortnite vs Overwatch in the very first series of Head-to-Head, a brand new feature in which we'll be placing the GR staff against one another in a heated debate about that which is most important to us: video games.
By now we've witnessed a myriad Fortnite vs PUBG arguments, but today in the GR staff room (a.k.a. Slack) we were admiring just how well our Fortnite coverage has been performing, before comparing it side-by-side with Blizzard's Overwatch. You'd imagine that a free-to-play game that's pretty derivative of another release wouldn't chart as well as a blockbuster FPS, but it turns out that people love Epic Games' Battle Royale survival shooter more than pretty much everything else.
However, two of our staff writers sat on very different sides of the fence regarding the hype surrounding Fortnite, and whether it deserved to be as popular as it is compared to the arguably more well-designed Overwatch. Here are GR's Mack Ashworth and Bradley Russell duking it out — leave your own opinion in the comments section below
Fortnite vs Overwatch: Why is Your Game the Best?
Mack Ashworth: I prefer Overwatch because there's a lot more variety when it comes to maps and available playstyles. Fortnite is great, but even with the regular updates, it all descends into the same endgame. Intense and fun, sure, but Overwatch provides more depth...
Bradley Russell: Don't you think Overwatch is a bit too niche though? From the outside looking in - who are these characters? Why should I care?
Mack: I would say that Overwatch has avoided being niche by having so many different ways to play. It might look like a simple FPS on the surface, but it's possible to play the game without even firing a weapon. I think it's perfect for casual players to pick up and play, while those looking for longevity will certainly find it in the trickier-to-master heroes. There's even a "bots only mode," which can be fun on its own. I think of "niche" in video games as meaning "largely inaccessible." Overwatch is as accessible as it gets.
Bradley: Fortnite is more accessible, no? There's about 4 commands, an obvious end goal and everything is just stripped-back with a really simplistic style.
Mack: I'd argue that Fortnite is one of the least accessible games out there, and I'm surprised that it's gotten so, so massive. While I'm proud that gamers are sticking with the game, I'd say that players only having one life, and the skills required to build quickly and shoot accurately, make it a tough ask for most. Though, I do wonder how many of the millions playing have actually gotten a "Victory Royale." I imagine that's a pretty niche crowd... (edited)
Bradley: Interesting. I agree that it can be unforgiving but the option to immediately (and I mean, immediately) join another game, mess around with friends is surely a more welcoming option than Team Deathmatch against people far too skillful. At least Fortnite levels the playing field with randomness. I think that unpredictability helps, don't you? I actually genuinely think Overwatch is kinda shit so I'm happy to dunk on it.
Mack: Fortnite, like the battle royale games it copied, has players spending 90% of their time looting, and 10% (if they're lucky) actually shooting at enemies. If you're a terrible shot, you're likely spending 100% of your time roaming about the map, collecting weapons that ultimately go unused. Overwatch is perfect for playing a quick round and fighting well-matched -- skill-based matchmaking isn't a thing in Fortnite, yet? Huh... -- enemies.
Bradley: Why has Overwatch never seen the popularity that Fortnite lucked into then? Even with the Overwatch League, it pales in comparison. Overwatch is the chocolate ice cream of video games: sure, it looks nice, hell, it is nice, but too much of it is nauseating - and you'll end up not going near it again for a while.
Mack: I think Fortnite has managed to hijack the success that PUBG would have been having, if it had come to consoles sooner. Fortnite is the only decent battle royale game on consoles, and it's that genre which is so hot right now. With that said, Epic Games has done a fantastic job of keeping the game in the news. There's always a new patch and new content being added, and we gamers love shiny new things. Overwatch ain't doing bad for a May 2016 title.
Bradley: You're right there. Overwatch did piggyback onto squad-based battles but approached it from a completely different angle. They should be commended for that and their longevity (relative-speaking for the industry) is a hallmark that should be followed by Fortnite. I still don't get the appeal. If I've not played either game, why should I play Overwatch over Fortnite?
Mack: If I didn't know your gaming tastes, and had to choose the title that I think you'd most likely find enjoyable, it would be Overwatch. Fortnite requires you to go through a few rounds of just dying, and many gamers just wouldn't want to put up with that. Overwatch is welcoming to new players, offers a tutorial and modes with bots. It's great at bringing players in, and keeping them playing. If I didn't like you — and I'm starting not to — I'd say go for Fortnite.
Fortnite vs Overwatch: Who is the Victor?
Bradley: Look, both are good games. Fortnite is the only great one, though. It feels like the best game Nintendo never made. It's what gaming is all about: having a laugh, winning — maybe not winning — and just enjoying the game rather than whining about nerfs, buffs, play styles blah blah blah. Overwatch got too complicated for its own good.
Mack: With Overwatch having aged elegantly, and survived a period that most other games don't, I think it's too early to compare Blizzard's king of hero shooters to a title like Fortnite. While Fortnite does battle royale very well, the genre is getting more and more crowded. Epic Games has something special, no doubt, but how long will it last?