Fortnite is a juggernaut of the gaming industry these days, but if one former Epic Games executive had his way then the game would have been cancelled. Evidently, this didn't happen, and Fortnite went on to become one of the biggest things in the gaming industry today. The free-to-play shooter even helped Epic Games generate $3 billion of revenue in 2018 alone, which is a sign of how powerful the IP is. At this point, the only thing shocking about the franchise is that Fortnite hasn't joined Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and its the pantheon of gaming icons.
To its credit, Epic Games has been very good at constantly rolling out updates for the game. Whether that's through a new John Wick skin or placing a random monster eye within the world of Fortnite, there's always something happening that's worth logging on to witness. That's why it's so hard to imagine that Fortnite didn't start off as the phenomenon it now is, as its 'Save the World' component struggled to find success at launch.
Former Epic Games executive and current head of Xbox Game Studios' The Coalition, Rod Fergusson, talked to Game Informer about how he wanted to scrap Fortnite. According to Fergusson, the game just wasn't up to his standards and stated that if he never left Epic Games then Fortnite would not exist today.
"If I stayed at Epic, I would have cancelled Fortnite. Before I left, I tried to cancel Fortnite. When it was Save the World... that was a project that had some challenges. And as the director of production at the time, that game would not have passed my bar for something we should continue to keep going...
So when people look at me and say 'don't you feel bad [for leaving before Fortnite's historic rise]?' I say no, you should feel really good, because that game you love - that worldwide sensation - would not exist had I stayed at Epic."
It's funny how development progressed for Fortnite following Fergusson's departure, but he claims that he doesn't lose any sleep over the game's success. In fact, he admitted that he's happy that everyone at Epic Games was able to find success with a game that he viewed as troubled. Fergusson is still an active participant in the industry today, currently overseeing work at Xbox Game Studios' The Coalition.
Fittingly, that studio works on the Gears of War franchise, which was another property that Fergusson oversaw at Epic Games. The legacy of his work continues on through the now Microsoft-owned series and Fortnite has crafted its own–leading to meteoric success for Epic Games. It's funny how life works out.
Source: Game Informer