PREVIEW:

Fortnite has been lost in works for a long time at Epic Games, and it’s finally about to hit. The company announced the July 25 early access launch date for the third-person shooter game where you build a fort and defend it against zombies.

It will be available in paid early access for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac, and it will be free to play in 2018 when it formally launches. Fans can preorder or preregister now on the official website.

In Fortnite, you can play solo or cooperatively in a dynamic world. You can grab procedurally generated resources on maps that are never the same the second time around. Then you craft your ammo, build your fort, and defend it against the hordes of husks and other monsters. It’s a funny game, and you’ll get a flavor for it in these gameplay videos.

I’ve played it for a week, and it has proven to be quite stable on my aging Nvidia and Intel PC. It’s a funny blend of Minecraft, Unreal, and Team Fortress 2. It’s in alpha testing now, and it will be on display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week.

Players team up to build forts and battle against hordes of zombies, all while crafting and looting within big open environments where no encounter will be the same. I’ve been playing the alpha version of the game for more than a week, and it’s a unique and funny experience. At least it is as funny as you can make the zombie apocalypse. It’s a nice blend of the building fun of Minecraft, the realistic but stylized graphics of Unreal games, and amusing shooters like Team Fortress 2.

The title is free-to-play in the long run, but in the meantime Epic will sell Fortnite Founders Packs to give players entry to the Early Access Season, access to exclusive in-game events in 2017, and access to Heroes, loot, weapons, and in-game boosts. That is, if you want to play it early, you’ll have to pay.

Players who pre-order a Founder’s Pack will get a four-day head start beginning on July 21, along with the exclusive Storm Master Weapon Pack. Additionally, Epic Games has partnered with Gearbox Publishing to distribute a boxed retail version of the game for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Epic’s official trailer is here.

Here’s the first starter mission in Fortnite, where you learn how to build and defend. You have to gather resources, craft some ammo, build your defenses, and then hold off the horde of Husks.

Here’s an early mission where you find and launch an Atlas satellite and fight the storm.

This mission lasted 52 minutes. I got penalized for taking so long.

Here’s another mission that last more than an hour, and got cut off at the end.

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