Epic Celebrates 'Fortnite's' Birthday With New Patch, Game Modes & Festive Makeover

Parents often make a big deal of their kid's first birthday. It's the first milestone that isn't simply measured in days, weeks, or months. So it's no wonder that Epic Games has made some big changes to celebrate Fortnite's birthday. Not every one-year-old brings in hundreds of millions (or perhaps even a billion) dollars for their parents in their first trip around the sun. Surely that's worth more than just a cake and balloons, right?

Epic definitely thinks so. The company has updated Fortnite with birthday-themed cosmetics unlocked by completing specific challenges meant to mark the occasion. You'll notice that the map is strewn with balloons, that the music played before you drop is different, and that the Battle Bus itself has received a confectionery makeover. If you're lucky, you'll find slices of cake that add five health and shields when consumed, too.

Those additions will definitely help Fortnite players get in the birthday spirit. But even more extensive changes dropped alongside Patch 5.10, and even though they have nothing to do with Epic's celebration of the game's success, they'll have a far deeper impact than cake slices will. Changes include reductions to building health, increased durations for the various safe zones, and the introduction of a new gun called the Compact SMG.

Gamers who have played countless hours of Fortnite since the game's launch will likely notice those changes immediately. Epic has also changed things up for newcomers with new keybindings, a "sprint by default" option that saves them from having to hold down Shift, and more. You can find the full list of updates to both the Battle Royale mode and the single-player Save the World mode via the patch notes.

There is another change worth mentioning: Playground is coming back. Epic has long teased its players with promises of the game mode, which allows them to set their own rules so they can do pretty much whatever they want in the game without having to worry about things like staying alive. Playground was available for a short time earlier this summer, and as of July 25, it's going to be available for players to experience again.

Playground will now come with some new options that let you select teams, enabling practice sessions or impromptu events with other players. The mode was already popular enough to crash Fortnite's servers when it first went online earlier this summer. Offering further improvements will likely inspire even more people to use it--especially if they want to prove they're the best Fortnite players among their friends.

We don't know for how long Playground or the birthday-related changes will be available. If you've been thinking about coming to Fortnite after a break, or even if you're just looking for an excuse to keep playing it all day, these changes ought to be reason enough. Besides, it's not every day a game that has come to define a genre and take over both gaming culture and the mainstream gets to celebrate its first birthday.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.