An epic risk for Epic Games.
I'm surprised I can even write a legitimate preview of Fortnite given that Epic Games—that is, Design Director Cliff Bleszinski, Producer Tanya Jessen, and Art Lead Pete Ellis—barely showed gameplay footage at all. At best, the videos they revealed were in alpha, but Fortnite has such an interesting concept and such a surprising art style that it nearly contradicts the typical grittiness from Epic Games. This alone makes a mere shred of information about the game noteworthy.
In a nutshell, Fortnite challenges a team of players to scavenge for materials and build defenses during the day in order to survive an onslaught of undead enemies who rise by night. Within the available hours of the day, a player will usually roam the world, chop down trees and fences for wood, return to base with materials in hand, and begin crafting a castle of epic proportions. At night, the player will hopefully defeat the waves of husks and other undead by working with their structure's architecture and pumping a shotgun every now and then.
As players progresses from day to day, their overall skills will improve depending on what they favor, be that combat, recon, scavenging, or building. Eventually, they'll have access to crossbows that can fire three bolts at once that also inflict chain lightning damage for one nasty trap, as well as architectural structures made of brick and mortar that have multiple chokepoints and perhaps even a sniper's nest for good measure. Part of the joy is transforming what once was a dinky house made from twigs into a majestic, labyrinthine ten-story fort that would give Minecraft veterans a run for their money.
Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the game's pristine cel-shaded artwork that resemble a hybrid between the cartoony exaggerations of Team Fortress with the clean lines of Pixar. In front of the musky grays and browns of the pending apocalypse are vibrant greens and warm tones, all running on the already unbelievable tech of Unreal Engine 4. The art style was initially conceptualized in the Epic Games tradition of rugged, hard-bitten models and environments, but was scrapped for a more humorous direction. I believe it has certainly made the right decision.
Fortnite is still early in production and doesn't have a release date, but it will be coming to PC first and foremost. Talks of a possible console version have been ongoing, though nothing has been decided yet. I, for one, think it should.