Following a leak this morning, Fortnite’s latest mode is now live in the game. The Party Royale mode features a small new island map. Instead of building and shooting, players go fishing, do time trials, and just hang out.
Rumors of Party Royale spread this morning following Fortnite’s 12.50 patch, with some saying the new mode would appear for testing on Friday night. But nope, Party Royale is live now.
Party Royale’s in-game description reads “All Chill. No Sweat.” There are no weapons or building; instead, the mode is described as a place to “hang out with friends.” There’s no storm circle or time limit. Vending machines dispense free, non-damaging items, like paint guns and grenades, tomatoes you can throw, fishing poles, and a bow that shoots plungers.
The Party Royale map is small but busy, decked out in bright colors and flashing lights. There’s a concert arena, a soccer pitch, a movie theater, and places to skydive or race vehicles. During my time with the mode, I interrupted a soccer game, rode a zipline around, and failed miserably at a glider time trial, much like I do when I’m ignoring the main game’s murderous competition. Since I was playing alone and had voice chat turned off, nothing really captured my attention for long, but it seems like a good mode to goof around in with friends without worrying about getting sniped. The concert venue and giant movie screen would seem to make it an obvious future home for events like the Travis Scott concert or Star Wars premiere, both of which removed weapons in favor of bringing players together.
The Party Royale island also features changing booths, where you can change your skin, pickaxe, and emotes during a match. I haven’t spotted these on the regular island, but given that the main game already features phone booths that give you disguises, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw them filter over.
In addition to Party Royale, Fortnite also got a new Spy Game, called Payload. It’s basically an Overwatch payload map in Fortnite: One team escorts a cart along a path, while the other team tries to stop them, and they switch places for four rounds. As with all Spy Games, you pick a loadout you’ve unlocked before each round. It’s neat, but it feels limited: Without Overwatch’s interesting powers to mix things up, it’s more or less just a frenzy of shooting and waiting to respawn. Still, it’s cool to see Epic do something creative with vehicles, and I’m curious what strategies will emerge.
With increasing in-game events, new modes, and crossovers, it’s clear Fortnite is looking to see what it can do with the battle royale genre outside of 100 players shooting each other. Party Royale is the latest step in that direction. Despite no staple build battles or weapons, Party Royale feels very Fortnite in its design, featuring the side activities and nods to in-game lore that make Fortnite unique. It’s not necessarily the best place for a solo player, but it’s cool to get distracted driving a boat without making my teammates hate me.