Epic Games has revealed a few details about the next seasonal update for their popular battle royale game Fortnite. For the first time ever, Epic will be adding bots to online play. The bots are supposed to “behave similarly to normal players and will help provide a better path for players to grow in skill.” They will appear in all non-competitive matches. Because they are intended to help players improve—especially new players, which Epic hopes to draw more in through this update—the number of bots appearing in players’ games will decrease over time as their skills increase.
Considering Fortnite matches have only ever consisted of humans since its launch, this is one of the biggest changes the game has ever seen. Epic assures that this new system “will continue to update and iterate” over time.
This major update comes in conjunction with a new matchmaking system Epic plans to release in the next season as well. In their blog post, they note that “the range of player skill has grown considerably” since the game’s launch, acknowledging the large gap in experience between veteran and newer players. Because of this, it may be difficult for some players to get into the game and improve their own skill—hence the addition of bots.
Epic hopes this new matchmaking system will “create fairer matches” between players, by connecting players of similar skill levels with one another. Currently, players are matched without taking skill levels into account. Epic plans to roll out this update across various regions over time, rather than all at once, so they can gauge how well the mode works and adjust it as necessary, similar to the new bot system.
The upcoming 10.40 update will mark the 11th season of Fortnite. No release date has been announced yet, but it’s expected to come sooner rather than later.