It looks like always-online might be a possibility for Fortnite...
Online-always single player games haven't really ever worked out. In the case of Ubisoft, online-always has been imposed on some of its game in the past as a form of DRM, a nightmare for gamers who don't necessarily have access to good internet connection. Diablo III is another recent reminder of the problems associated with online-always games. Besides the tumultuous launch that made Error 37 a meme, some players still have issues with lag that make even the single player experience unplayable.
PC gamers, you might be in for some more bad news.
Epic Games's PC-exclusive Fortnite may end up an online-always experience. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Fortnite producer Tanya Jessen explained that the game may end up being online-always, not as DRM mind you, but to improve the game:
"That’s something we don’t know yet," Jessen said. "It’s gonna be really dependent on gameplay, and it’s also dependent on platform – the method of getting updates and stuff like that. So I can’t say for sure today one way or another [whether or not we're going to use it]."
Jessen goes on to say that Fortnite is a game that's being developed as a co-op experience and that that's their number one focus.
"This is a game you’re gonna want to play with your friends, and it’s most fun with your friends. So whatever we decide to do there is gonna be more relevant to the most fun experience you can have with your friends [than it is to piracy]. But I can’t nail that down today."
Though online-always for Fortnite is merely a consideration, the fact that Epic wants to shape it into a co-op experience (a phrase that's been thrown around quite a few times when describing Diablo III) makes it seem a likely course of action. Hopefully, Epic takes Diablo III's example into mind when tying up loose ends with Fortnite.
Update: Epic has said it hasn't entered serious talks about the implementation of online play and that nothing has been decided just yet.
"We’re not talking about our plans at this time, mainly because that plan doesn’t exist yet," the company told Rock Paper Shotgun. "Fortnite is an iterative, living project and many things are still being decided prior to its release in 2013."