Fortnite continues metaverse development with the launch of Party Worlds

A shot from one of the new Party Worlds in Fortnite
The new mode comes hot on the heels of a New Zealand virtual experience in the game. Photo credit: Supplied / Epic

Battle Royale game Fortnite is continuing its march towards creating a metaverse-type community and away from being a combat game with the launch of 'Party Worlds'.

Developed by Epic, Fortnite started as an online combat game, which in solo mode meant the winner had to outlast 99 other competitors to emerge victorious.

But over the last few years developers have started the transformation of the platform into a much broader online social space, with Party Worlds the next step. Previous efforts include an online concert by rapper Travis Scott.

According to the company, Party Worlds are "experiences that are designed as places for players to hang out, play fun minigames, and make new friends".

While other ways of playing Fortnite already exist - like the combat-free Party Royale and Creative Modes - those are mainly designed to surface content and help players discover other experiences, the company said.

Party Worlds are different in that they aren't being used as a discovery tool for other content, instead designed as a space where users relax and have a good time as well as meet new and existing friends.

While most users may not be using a virtual headset, this still pushes Fortnite towards Meta's idea of the metaverse - a virtual world where avatars connect through entertainment, work or travel.

Two worlds have already been created: An amusement park and a late night lounge for "frivolous after hours adventure", with Epic asking the community to share their ideas for more.

The rules for Party Worlds give a further indication of Fortnite's intentions for the new spaces.

"Party Worlds should not be threatening. They shouldn't center on combat or damage," Epic wrote.

They should also have a "high focus on self-expression through emotes, sprays, outfit changes, or other mechanics", it wrote as well as "encourage social interaction, giving people a way to make new friends or team up with existing friends in new ways".

The new mode comes shortly after a new creative map called Lands Down Under was unveiled in-game to showcase Australia and New Zealand to millions of users.

In the map players explore a visitor centre that includes a gift shop, cafe and function centre which also includes information about native animals in each country and an aquarium.

The Aotearoa part, including a mini-game where users have to find 10 missing kiwis and return them to their nests, was developed locally by Zen Creative, run by Kiwi twin brothers R-leeo and Theodore Maoate.

R-leeo told Newshub the experience was "crazy" and he had been extremely grateful to be part of it, especially with future developments planned.

"There's a lot of possibilities," R-leeo said. "We want to open up this metaverse to show that it's not just big brands that can come into Fortnite and be a part of it."