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Feature Article

Fortnite Could Have Been Canceled, Epic's Former Dev Boss Reveals At E3 2019

"That game you love, the worldwide sensation, it would not exist had I stayed at Epic."

Epic's Fortnite is a massive success that's achieved a level of popularity that few could have ever imagined. It's a worldwide phenomenon that boasts a huge player base and has had a cultural impact far beyond that of most games. The free-to-play game almost didn't even exist, however, it's been revealed this week at E3 2019.

Rod Fergusson, the former director of production at Epic Games, has revealed that he wanted to cancel Fortnite when he was at the company. At the time, the project did not have its battle royale component (which has driven the game's success), and it was facing some challenges.

"If I stayed at Epic, I would have canceled Fortnite. Absolutely," Fergusson told Game Informer. "Before I left I tried to cancel Fortnite. When it was just Save the World, that was a project that had some challenges. As the director of production at the time, that game would not have passed my bar for something we should have continued to keep going."

Fergusson did not elaborate as to what the difficulties were with Fortnite at the time. He left Epic in 2012, going on to join Irrational Games to help close out the development of BioShock Infinite. He then joined Microsoft when the company bought the Gears of War franchise from Epic, and he now heads up Gears 5 studio The Coalition.

Fergusson said he doesn't lose sleep over leaving Epic before Fortnite exploded in popularity. "I'm super happy for their success," he said.

He again reminded people that Fortnite might not exist if he stayed at Epic. "That game you love, the worldwide sensation, it would not exist had I stayed at Epic," he said.

Fortnite's battle royale mode was released in September 2017, following the initial Save the World mode. This is when the game really took off.

Fergusson likely had no idea Epic wanted to make Fortnite a battle royale game, as he left the company a half-decade before the game was even released.

In other news, BAFTA gave a special award to Epic this week at E3 for its "impact on the global games industry."

More E3 news:

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email


Eddie Makuch

Bring back the Whalers.


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35 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for aiat_gamer

I just clicked on this hoping they would stop tweeting it over and over again...looks like someone thought this would explode and bring in the clicks, but was disappointed to see no one cares.

Avatar image for consolehaven

This is a half truth. Fort nite also wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for PUBG pulling in tons of cash.

Avatar image for rolento25

Wish it did never happen, it's cancer for kids.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

Tlittle is quite the clickbait. I entered here under a false premise.

Is this the journalism you want, Gamespot?

There, you got my click. I think that'sall you wanted anyway.

Avatar image for grimlockf

For those supposing Epic would not be causing a ruckus on PC right now if this game did not happen, that would be incorrect. Epic is mostly owned by Tencent, an absolutely ludicrously large international holdings conglomerate that has effectively endless amounts of cash to throw at whatever they want. I cannot even overstate how huge this company actually is.

Avatar image for johnnyboy787

So its a good thing he left, cancel one of the biggest game on the industry? Good thing he left.

Avatar image for barcaazul

Those bashing it should think how it may help bring a new generation of kids to gaming. Its like a Nintendo like shooter.

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum

@barcaazul:Yeah, when I see toddler-age relatives and stuff play Fortnite it looks just like me playing Super Mario Bros and Sonic at that same age. If I had had just something like Karate Kid or Ghostbusters I might now be an olympic athlete or prime minister of a country.

Good thing or bad thing, anyone can decide for themselves.

Avatar image for rolento25

@barcaazul: Lol... ok.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@barcaazul: Not really. My cousins played games before it was released. This one resulted in one of the worst companies getting more money than they should ever be allowed to have seeing how they're using it now. I really do wish Epic would either go bankrupt or have their assets frozen so they can't pull any more of their crap.

Avatar image for mrdinghat

How I wish it were cancelled, Epic wouldn't be screwing up the PC right now.

Avatar image for Pyrosa

@mrdinghat: Shall we retread this fallacy?

Care to re-list all those reasons?

Avatar image for Darko-TDR

We were so close:(

Avatar image for mistervulpes

You mean that mediocre co-op tower defence game that charged full price, abandoned the product and never refunded the people who bought the original game?

Avatar image for Pyrosa

@mistervulpes: Abandoned?

You mean the one that has literally never stopped adding new fully-voiced campaigns, levels, mission types, weapons, and characters? The one that reinvented their own Loot Boxes so you can see EXACTLY what you get, and whose specific item store can ONLY spend gameplay-earned currency? New UI, massive gameplay tuning, new mechanics, whole new main campaign sections, and final bosses?

THAT "abandoned" game?

(You clearly are repeating BS you read online.)

Avatar image for rolento25

@Pyrosa: Wow, it's true... people really will defend a piece of turd.

Avatar image for itchyflop

but then all the microtransactional child manipulative money scheming plans would be left to EA only!!!

Ha i bet it was nearly cancelled my ass

Avatar image for Arkhalipso

@itchyflop: You should try reading the article first. The battle royale mode didn't exist back then. Fortnite was just one more game.

Avatar image for itchyflop

@Arkhalipso: i have,

it does now and it was a failure then not selling many, i know because i have one of the rare physical copies before the reshaping of the game and its "money copycatting exploitative" came !!!!

To be fair, i do see the appeal and im not saying along with its games similar before it, or it "COPIED" its not a bad game, and like you've said its done very well with the restructure, or again trend of gaming it follows.

Here's what im saying, an example :

the game asks your your gender etc and then after starts you as a female (if your gender is male in real life), whats the first thing younger gamers or are going to want to do, hell even normal older gamers?

And it costs you to change, now scale that up by millions, thats not blatant?!

you see my point.

Or like me, i thought what a rip and deleted it then at that point after trying it.


Avatar image for Pyrosa

@itchyflop: In 2012, the game was just about unrecognizeable compared to what was released 2y ago. That attempted cancellation led to massive overhauls.

...and since release (err, early access), the last 2y have seen even more massive improvements.

Avatar image for itchyflop


yeah my point above.

Iv got a rare physical copy of that game!!

Its done very well after ill agree but at what cost to you and others playing it (Again see above)!!

But then you could argue so has the latest say "cod" with the same "trend" of gaming style added.

Interestingly i see dayz is now available on ps4?

I wonder if that'll do well.

Avatar image for the_dog

There are some really selfish people on the internet, isn't there?

Avatar image for m4a5

@the_dog: You're just finding that out now? :P

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

If only.

Avatar image for Sorrow_316

Meh. Mediocre game for that mediocre audience. Wouldn’t have been a problem with me if it was cancelled.

Avatar image for deactivated-5d0a4c3876874

Lol. Some salty replies.

I'm at least happy it's not canceled. My cousin enjoyed this game a lot.

Avatar image for Arkhalipso

@dg1995: Lots of people enjoy the game, I'm not sure how that's a bad thing. But I guess people will just hate anything and everything that is popular and that they don't feel identified with.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@dg1995: My cousin does too, but that doesn't mean I don't see the bad that came from the game's success.

Avatar image for m4a5

@dg1995: If there's one thing "gamers" love to do, it's jump on a hate bandwagon lol

Avatar image for deactivated-5d0a4c3876874

@m4a5: Yeah.In that I agree.

Even now Shenmue 3's steam discussion is pretty absurd.(It's now besically Epic Vs Steam battleground)

Avatar image for m4a5

@dg1995: Eh, it was heavily implied that Steam was the intended PC platform. So at least that hate is understandable......

Avatar image for CorporalTurner

Some my not remember that it started as a co-op tower defense game.

Avatar image for redhedjack


Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

If only he had managed to get it canceled. He might have saved the world from EGS and those crappy exclusivity deals we're dealing with now as Epic might not be able to fund them.