Feature Article

Fortnite Fans Are Nostalgic For When The Game Was Clearly Worse

With Creative 2.0, fans are revisiting Fortnite's storied past, even as it means undoing years of quality-of-life updates.

Unreal Editor for Fortnite is finally here. And while over time this will change Fortnite into something that is so far beyond the Fortnite that we know today, nothing really has changed just yet. The beginning of Creative 2.0 is just a nicer version of Creative 1.0, if we're being honest. The future is extremely exciting, but it's going to take a while for folks to take full advantage of the UEFN.

While we wait for that future to arrive, the talk of the town has been two attempts to use UEFN to recreate Fortnite's Battle Royale island as it existed in Chapter 1 Season 3. Longtime Fortnite players have been in a tizzy over these, excited to usher in a new era of Old Fortnite. That new era will never actually happen, though, because the game was worse in every way and can't actually be fully restored anyway.

The first of these retro maps, Atlas Creative's Atlas OG Battle Royale, was a disastrous janky mess when it went live alongside the debut of Creative 2.0--though the Atlas folks have stabilized the map pretty well now. The second, Reboot Royale, launched a few days later and looks much nicer, but significant sacrifices were made to keep the map under the memory limit. But these are the first-ever attempts to build maps on this scale in Fortnite Creative, so some amount of jank is to be expected.

I only started playing Fortnite during Chapter 2, so I do appreciate having the chance to experience firsthand what I had only been able to see in YouTube videos. But for me, that's where the enjoyment ends--the Chapter 1 version of Fortnite's Battle Royale plays worse than the version we have now, on a map that's much worse than the one we have now, and these maps do not actually recreate the experience of playing Fortnite back then because none of the guns work the same way they did then. But that's okay. These Chapter 1 re-dos are more of a fun diversion than an actual attempt to replace the current version of Battle Royale, right?


For some folks, maybe not. There has been plenty of chatter among the Fortnite old-timers about how they can finally play the old, good version of Battle Royale, from back before it was tainted by…whatever it is they think has ruined Fortnite over the years. Their nostalgia mode is fully engaged.

Fortnite looks amazing today in Unreal Engine 5, but some players are purposely reverting to a time when it looked much worse.
Fortnite looks amazing today in Unreal Engine 5, but some players are purposely reverting to a time when it looked much worse.

I doubt anybody considers either of the new Chapter 1 maps to be real threats to the supremacy of Fortnite's main Battle Royale modes--they just aren't put together well enough, because even the new, much higher memory limit creators have with UEFN isn't enough to allow a true, full 1:1 recreation of any Fortnite island. Or at least they haven't figured out how yet.

They also can't revert the gameplay to what it was. Every gun is balanced differently than it used to be. Building mechanics are far more advanced and faster now than they were early in Chapter 1.

And so try as they might, there's no version of this where Atlas or Reboot Royale are ever able to recreate that Fortnite Chapter 1 feel for real. But even if they did, would that even be a good thing? As is the case with most live-service games, Fortnite has gotten tons of quality-of-life improvements over the years that make its baseline experience much more pleasant. While these folks can disable, for example, sprinting, sliding, and mantling on their OG maps, those features are pretty hard to give up after having them in the game for over a year.

Despite that reality, even now those Fortnite old-timers--many of whom grew up on Fortnite--are dialing up their nostalgia meters to 11 over these Chapter 1 maps. I get it. These folks have been embroiled in this FOMO-heavy ecosystem for a long time, and they simultaneously have one foot out the door and the other still logging in daily to collect their Founders V-Bucks from Save The World. For some,they're pretty much over Fortnite, but they're hooked from having invested so much time (and money) in it. They hope that these OG maps will get them back into it.

But, as is always the case with nostalgia, what these folks really want on a deeper level is to actually time travel back to Chapter 1 and re-experience it for the first time. And that won't ever happen. A hacked-together partial physical recreation of an old map might bring back those past vibes for a moment, but they'll fade sooner than later.

Because you can't truly be young again--you can only try to delude yourself into thinking you are. And these Chapter 1 maps are nothing more than fun little glimpses of the past to enjoy while Epic continues to perpetually invent the future.

Phil Owen on Google+

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