By Ryan Shepard

Fortnite is a third-person shooter developed by Epic Games that centers around gathering resources, building up a base with defenses – like sniper towers and deadly traps, and working together with a team (or solo) to defend your base against a cartoonish zombie horde. The game draws inspiration from titles like Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, and I would go as far as to say fellow early-access title, Rust, whilst also incorporating a skill-progression system with RPG elements. Another core feature of the game is its cast of over 100 colorful heroes.

After a long development cycle beginning with Cliff Bleszinski’s preemptive introduction of the game in 2011 at the Spike Video Game Awards, Fortnite finally became available on July 25th as a paid early-access game for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. The game in its current form focuses on PvE gameplay, but the developers say they have plans to introduce different game modes in the future. The game was created with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 but sports a more stylized and cartoon-like look.

Luckily for Epic Games, Fortnite’s long development cycle is paying off as the game has breezed past 500,000 digital pre-order sales. This news comes to us from the game’s creative director, Darren Sugg, on Twitter:

“Absolutely humbled by the response to this week’s @FortniteGame launch. 500k+ digital pre-order sales and just getting started! Thank YOU.” – @DarrenSugg

This figure only accounts for the pre-order sales and does not include retail sales or full sales numbers from launch, the total number is likely considerably higher. The game is generating a considerable amount of hype, at the time of this writing, Fortnite is ranked as the 7th highest game on Twitch in terms of how many people are currently watching streamers play the game.

The most impressive detail about Fortnite’s success so far is the fact that when the game fully launches, sometime in 2018, it will be a free-to-play game. Fans interested in supporting the ongoing development of the game, and those of us who are just itching to play it now, can purchase different founder packs from Epic Games’ website priced from $39.99, $59.99, $89.99, up to a whopping $149.99 to gain access to the game. Each founder packs include different in-game content, like extra rare guns, heroes, AI defenders, and other goodies. The $89.99 founder pack includes 1 additional standard copy of the game and the $149.99 pack includes 2, these can be given out to friends you want to jump into the game with you and help justify the hefty price tags.

Fortnite is off to a great start with all the hype the game has generated and its impressive initial sales figures. The important thing now is to see if the game lives up to its claimed 300-plus hours of gameplay experience, and whether or not its progression system will be engaging enough to keep players invested in the game all the way up to it’s full release sometime next year.