Fortnite's free-to-play Battle Royale mode is now available standalone

Out of nowhere, Epic Games introduced a Battle Royale game mode for its cooperative survival title Fornite earlier this month. Fast forward two weeks and now the mode is already available as a completely free-to-play standalone game for anyone to jump in and play.

The game follows the traditional Battle Royale ruleset, with up to 100 players being dropped from a 'Battle Bus' onto an ever-shrinking map with scattered weapons and loot. The last remaining player or group will emerge victorious. Meanwhile, players can also destroy structures and even build their own in Fortnite, adding another gameplay layer to the Battle Royale experience.

Speaking of groups, the new 1.6.3 update for the game has added squad-based matches in addition to the usual solo match type, allowing up to four players to group up together when playing. Other new additions from the update include new weapons, balance updates, Supply Drops that randomly spawn and descend from the sky, containing powerful weapons and items, and more. The update's full changelog is available here.

It hasn't been completely smooth sailing for Epic Games, however, with the mode getting some flak from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) developer, Bluehole, earlier this week. Bluehole accused Epic Games of "replicating the experience for which PUBG is known," and using PUBG's name in promotional materials.

While Bluehole is contemplating "further action" against Epic Games, it hasn't affected Fortnite Battle Royale's launch at all. In a happy accident, the game also allowed Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players to play together for some time. Sadly, the 'issue' allowing cross-play functionality was soon fixed.

Fortnite Battle Royale is now available free of charge on PC via the Epic Launcher, as well as on Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Epic Games is also offering refunds to players who purchased Fortnite between September 12-19, as the Battle Royale mode is now a standalone free-to-play game. Interested players can request the refund here.

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