Even if you’ve never dropped from the party bus, you’ve probably heard of Epic Games’ Fortnite. With large-scale crossover events and concerts, impressively generous content rollouts, record-shattering Twitch numbers, and numerous pop culture references, the cartoonish battle royale continues to have a widespread impact on multiple entertainment industries. However, many of Fortnite’s various features have been stripped away in China. Fortnite China, as it’s known, is an exclusive test build of the popular game that’s been fine-tuned to abide by Chinese media laws. Unfortunately, this test build will cease to exist later this month; Fortnite China is shutting down.
According to a Kotaku report, the official Fortnite China site announced the server shut down. This decision might be linked to China’s notoriously strict gaming laws. Earlier this year, CNN confirmed that China banned kids under the age of 18 from playing games on weekdays, with a 1 hour limit on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Moreover, laws targetting violence in media (skins with skull imagery, for example, are outright absent or modified) and gambling prevented Fortnite China from showcasing certain cosmetics and including a microtransaction-focused storefront. In relation to the latter change, Chinese players were awarded 400 V-Bucks every week and purchasable packages like battle passes were made free.
Perhaps, the most interesting change comes in the form of Fortnite China’s in-game backstory. The lore in the test build, as explained by the wiki page, states the game takes place in a Training Ground; all the enemies are holograms as opposed to real people:
“HP is referred to as Battery Life. Even their exclusive storm health bar is referred to as a signal bar, and its depletion results in the ‘disconnection’ of your hologram, eliminating you. These changes are put in place to remove any connotations of violent content in the game, as this is illegal under Chinese Law, especially for games played by minors.”
Fortnite China will be discontinued on November 15.