Fortnite's tenth season brought a number of changes to the battle royale game, most noticeably the giant mech suits that can now drop for players to pilot. As you'd guess, giant robot death suits are pretty potent in Fortnite's arena. But while players are protesting the powerful bots, Epic doesn't seem keen on removing them.
The mech, called the B.R.U.T.E. in the Fortnite-verse, is a giant walking platform of doom. It blasts through the ramshackle buildings players can toss up, packs some serious firepower, and is extremely durable to enemy fire. But beyond it being an extremely powerful drop, it is also just that: a random drop. Players have vocalized their distaste for this element of randomness in a theoretically competitive arena through various venues, predominately the #RemoveTheMech hashtag on Twitter.
It isn't just a community request either, but large-name streamers like Dakotaz saying they won't spend any more money in Fortnite until Brutes are gone. Other streamers have recorded their reactions to being taken out by the mechs and well, they're not wild about them. A few days ago, the competitive Fortnite subreddit was even trying to start a movement to all play Apex Legends instead of Fortnite.
But despite all that, the Fortnite team explained in a blog post its philosophy behind the mechs, and most notably, why they seem here to stay. According to the devs, they want everyone to have a shot at getting eliminations and Victory Royales, as well as a level of spectacle and entertainment to Fortnite that's maintained week over week, season over season.
"The B.R.U.T.E. was added at the start of Season X with this mission in mind," the Fortnite team writes. "Since then, we have seen players who had previously struggled with getting eliminations acquiring more, while the number of eliminations earned by more experienced players remained steady."
The team closes with a promise: "We regularly have and will continue to release content that shakes up gameplay in Fortnite in unexpected ways. And we're committed to providing a constantly evolving, entertaining and fun experience to all players."
While the blog breezes over the larger implication of what a kill means in a competitive game, I think this incident highlights the conflict at the heart of Fortnite. It is promoting a growing competitive scene with a massive World Cup and other events, while also trying to be the Ur-Game that everyone plays and enjoys. While a mech isn't necessarily a good time for someone trying to tally up wins on stream or qualify for a competition, it could be fun for Little Johnny, a hypothetical child who is bad at Fortnite and wants to get a Victory Royale. So where does the balance lie?
Fortnite's tussled with this issue in the past, as it has a tendency to introduce shockingly powerful items on the eve of major tournaments. But unlike other cases, Epic seems like its standing firm on the Brutes. Either competitive players and streamers will have to come around on them, or maybe start looking to other pastures.