3 min read

Two drunks stepped in a health bar : The JUI (Joke User Interface) Epic made in Fortnite

When microstransaction-based AAA games have a messy interface is this a problem or a patent?

Fortnite Logo

Having started to play Fortnite on the PS4 recently I just could not believe my eyes when opening one of the multiple trees section:

Fortntite Skill tree

And this is but a fraction of the whole.

Navigating the GUI of Fortnite feels like the Designers` goal was to end up on the top 10 list of “most complicated mazes”. It`s a beautiful mess. Aesthetically pleasing but chaotic, like a my little pony-story written by H.P.Lovecraft. Or if Aronofskys “Mother” and Power Puffgirls had a brainchild.

The artstyle and gameplay was clearly inspired by mobile games, the use of microtransactions etc. but instead of also learning from the best GUIs on the mobile platform, EPIC has gone the “shallow depths” route of so many recent “Pseudo-Hardcore”-RPGs.

It`s sad, because they nailed the gameplay. The writing is funny and the characters likeable. But I would say that at least on consoles  the game is nearly unnavigateable.

I guess this was only playtested on PCs? Most icons and texts on the screen are too small if you are playing on a TV-Screen, 6 feet away.

There is no prioritizing anything, as a starting player I should not have even to see the things that are unlockable at Level 30. To progress in the story there is a main quest that is hidden under an encyclopedia of initially useless informations.

Fortnite Main Menu

Can you immediately find the Play button? Why is “Quest” the last of  Can you guess the difference between heroes, defenders and survivors? Why is schematics here but no arsenal (I can only view my currently equipped items ingame). Why is a collection book even under “Armory”? Why is there no option to deactivate ingame chat? During your first game you will end up in a Lobby where someone plays Deathmetal in the background and you have no option either to google how to solve the problem, endure the audio mess or mute the entire game? (Happened to me and made me almost ragequit ;-)

Epic, don`t tell me that in your menus that where meticously crafted to hold the information density of an average microchip there was no “space” to include a “MUTE CHAT” in the settings!

It´s the typical  if it works with a mouse it has to work with a controller- approach horribly gone wrong.

You never should give your players nightmares about having to upgrade their characters or unlocking the 17th ability of the 4th tree of the 92nd sub-branch building something 0.5% faster. An anxiety attack is not what you want to induce in your customers if they receive a skill point!

There is still hope since the game is in “early access”. They should get back to the drawing board and realize that by giving the players infinite meaningless choices they are just preventing them from playing.

The other side of the medallion could be that all this design is deliberate and intentional to incentivize buying Pinatas (Fortnites Version of Lootboxes) AKA “Only a fried brain is a monetizable brain”.

With a recent patent from EA surfacing that invented Monetizing-based Matchmaking, could there be a patent of Monetizing-based User-Interface-Design? Is there a MOBUI-patent already in the making?

What do you think? Could bad UI be good for business? If so, then EPIC will soon surpass APPLE as most profitable company.  You heard it here first.

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