Shacknews Best Early Access Game of 2017: Fortnite

Epic has not been shy about cashing in on the popularity of PUBG's battle royale gameplay, but Fortnite's original formula is more than enough to earn it this honor.


Fortnite made a lot of noise in 2017, mostly when it turned out to be the most popular title emulating the match style that has grown wildly popular due to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. While the development team's quick implementation of a sound copy of PUBG's Battle Royale mode is worth note, boxing Fortnite in as just a PUBG clone is ignoring the incredibly fun base game that has earned the title of Shacknews Best Early Access Game of 2017.

Save The World, Fortnite's base game mode, has a lot of elements that mimic practices seen in mobile games. Timed meta content, loot llamas, and other features all work to extend the life of Fortnite, but it's all built on an incredibly fun foundation. Some parts can be played solo, but the majority of Save The World involves exploring randomly generated maps with other players, completing various tasks, building up defenses for the major objectives, and using your various weapons or abilities to take on the hordes of undead creatures. You even have your own personal base that you will upgrade, add AI controlled defenders to, and have to defend from waves of attacks. 

While Fortnite is still officially in Early Access, it has been quite polished since its debut and players can stay abreast of the frequent updates with fairly regular blog and vlog updates. Seasonal events have kept the ball rolling, as well.

I don't have any particular insider information on the development of Save The World or the Battle Royale mode, but I certainly must tip my hat to the team. An added-on Battle Royale mode with a quarter of the content or effort of what was given to players would have done enough to capitalize on the mode's popularity and promote Fortnite, but the addition is free, impressive, and continues to improve almost weekly. It also beat PUBG to the mainstream gaming consoles, which is simply smart business.

Honorable Mentions:


Offworld Industries is crafting one of the most intense PvP experiences ever where cohesive and efficient teamwork from the 50 players on each side of the 100 player match is absolutely detrimental. SQUAD isn't for the faint of heart or undedicated, but anyone willing to put in the time will come away with a story unlike any they've experienced in other shooters. The development team needs to get things clicking quickly if they want to draw in more players before the next shiny thing comes along, but there will likely always be a dedicated community championing this FPS.

Dead Cells

When it comes to Early Access polish, Dead Cells may edge Fortnite out. It's a rogue-lite, Metroidvania created by Motion Twin and it has found a formula that makes losing exciting much like the Souls franchise. You could say its the Dark Souls of Ear...EDIT: Charles has been removed from the premises. Check Dead Cells out for yourself. It's bound to be part of many end of the year lists for 2018 once it launches into 1.0.

Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Shacknews Awards as we celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at

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