An alarm sounds and I wake up in a box room no bigger than an aeroplane toilet. I rise to my feet, twist my body towards a narrow dressing table, and pick up a black wire mask emblazoned with the white outline of a circle. Given its vast catalogue of crossovers, an official Fortnite meets Squid Game mash-up isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. But, in this instance, I’m playing in a player-made Squid Game Fortnite roleplay server, wherein I’m filling the shoes of a guard-in-training.
The creative scene in Fortnite has grown exponentially over the last 12 months, with players crafting themed roleplay servers mirroring everything from Home Alone to Cyberpunk 2077, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Prison Break and The Walking Dead among many other real-world properties and fan-driven ideas. From the sublime to the ridiculous, the standard of servers varies pretty widely, but there really is something for everyone, for anyone willing to dig for it. In my current Squid Game adventure, I’ve now just finished roll call and have received a shopping list of duties. My first order of the day? To oversee the infamous Green Light/Red Light game, and make sure nobody cheats while running the gauntlet. My second? To gather the half-dozen dead bodies inside the pit of the Tug-O-War arena, pack them into coffins, carry them to the morgue and incinerate them on-site. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. I guess.
If you build it, they will come
Launched at the tail-end of 2018, Fortnite Creative is a sandbox game mode that runs independently of Fornite Battle Royale. In something more akin to the likes of Garry’s Mod, Team Fortress 2 or even Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, players can craft their own 16-player private islands, each with their own quirks and customisable rules; each gated by a unique ‘Island Code’. In its earliest stages, Fortnite Creative served as a place for players to join their mates away from the chaos of BR, to host crude variations of classic games such as Frogger and Temple Run, or to adapt endearing multiplayer game modes such as Capture the Flag and Flame Tag.
In 2022, however, Fortnite Creative has now grown into a catalogue of sophisticated maps and modes, performance subculture hubs and roleplay servers. To the latter end, having spoken to the creators of some of my own favourite maps, the Fortnite roleplay scene has grown exponentially over the last six to 12 months, with just about every popular trend, TV show, video game and film adapted and/or shoehorned into Epic’s ever-popular universe. From snowboarding to Land Sharks and Samurais, the best Fortnite creative codes offer an insight into the boundless, complementary and readily available creative realms on display. The server count is now so busy that if you think an idea might have its own Fortnite roleplay angle, it almost certainly will.
And so I’ve now burned enough corpses to justify a promotion to Squid Game guard supervisor. Once shy around the workplace, I’m now loud-mouthed and assured, institutionalised and ordering lesser-qualified staff to sweep the floors of the fallen, and serve surviving contestants with bottled water and a single boiled egg once per day. It’s not the most glamorous of jobs, but I’m good at it. Which makes me feel a wee bit uncomfortable in real life. What makes me laugh, on the other hand, is playing a Fortnite-meets-Home Alone take on hide-and-seek in a server inspired by the 1990 hit film. In something that sort-of resembles Spy vs Spy, I find myself being chased around a recreation of the McCallister family home by two hapless player-controlled bandits, laying traps all over the place and doing everything I can to avoid capture. Later, I find myself solving lazer puzzles by jetpack in a Cyberpunk 2077-aping server. And later again, I’m pegging it from zombies in an incredible iteration of Resident Evil’s Spencer Mansion, within a roleplay server that so accurately reflects its source material it might be just as fun.
Through all of this, I’ve become hooked on the weird and wonderful world of Fortnite roleplay, housed within Fortnite Creative. I find myself cycling through potential ideas worth searching in my downtime, and then can’t wait to get back in front of my PC to check if someone, somewhere has created something based on the obscure film or book or television show that’s just crossed my mind. And, more often than not, someone, somewhere has.
As mentioned above, the standard of some servers is higher than others, but what makes it all so enjoyable is the creativity of its creators. I’ve spent a number of years frolicking in and around the GTA 5 roleplay community, and one thing I adore about the general concept of the scene is the fact something so imaginative and inventive exists within a game that’s otherwise designed for another purpose. In the case of Grand Theft Auto, it’s in the name: this is a game about committing virtual crime, stealing cars and engaging in various other nefarious activities. But within its player-made roleplay scene, a different world exists, with different rules, customs and expectations. In the case of Fortnite, some servers might occupy my time for 10 minutes, while others – such as the aforementioned Resident Evil project (keep your eyes peeled for more on this soon) – will grip me for several hours in one sitting.
Given the fact Fortnite Battle Royale was born as an evolution of another idea, Fortnite Save the World, the huge strides Fortnite Creative is now making – and, indeed, its myriad roleplay servers – seems fitting. Having now taken my Squid Game guard simulation as far as I can, I can’t wait to take on another outlandish occupation. The question is: which direction should I go in? Whatever you’re thinking, I bet there’s already something out there that fits the description!
Need some help surviving on the Island? Our Fortnite guide has you covered.