Intervention: River Race BR

by | Nov 10, 2017 | Artwork #3: Intervene

River Race BR


  1. You must head directly to the starting bridge
  2. The race begins immediately upon crossing the designated bridge
  3. Starting location is determined by spawn point on the northern or southern hemisphere
  4. Survive to the finish line

Course Map:

Starting Point: Circle

Finish Line: Arrow

Finish Lines:

North Course – Western most edge of adjacent town

South Course – Anywhere inside the house on Loot Lake’s centre island

Artist’s Statement:

The videos posted below will explain River Race BR (RRBR) in detail, show examples of gameplay, and, most importantly, demonstrate the result of the experience in terms of the original concept, Fortnite’s Battle Royale (FNBR). The following essay specifically addresses the ethical question behind participation in RRBR within another ongoing competition, and explicitly states the parallel themes shown in both River Race and FNBR.

In its truest form, River Race questionsthe current meta in FNBR. As shown in the footage below, despite running the course, players can still win the game. The players with higher win percentages generally aim to hit the ground as soon as possible, and usually in a region densely populated with loot, and, therefore, other players. RRBR forces players to a pre designated location, diverting the player’s focus from reaching the ground with speed, to overall flight mechanics. Whenever possible, the player would prefer to fly over the starting bridge in an attempt to cover as much ground as possible (gliding is faster than running) before traveling on foot. Unlucky spawns combined with poor flight could force a player to run to the starting bridge, significantly decreasing chances of survival.

Next, RRBR is not loot-oriented, but rather focuses on positioning. Successfully completing either course amidst the ongoing brawl forces players to use the same decision-making process involved in the original game, but with minimalequipment and resources at their disposal. In the first gameplay video featuring player Alteredskull, we successfully finish the River Race, survive the storm, and eliminate a set of opponents using only a common shotgun and farmed wood. In both the introduction/north course and south course videos, I successfully utilize my modest equipment to reap bountiful rewards worth entire cities. This begs the question of whether it is actually worth seizing control of even just a portion of a city, and implores you to consider the power of your position on the map over the strength of your arsenal.

In short, Fortnite BR is filled with distractors that steer players off the most direct path to victory. My River Race forces players into a disadvantageous position that teaches you the important concepts related to the sole objective of both games, survival. Completing the course is in itself a challenge, but, on occasion, your team has the opportunity to reinstate itself into the original game. This requires adept use of resources and map knowledge, inspired by situations seemingly unique (or at least more likely to occur) after a River Race.

Some may question the ethics behind RRBR, questioning the impact on the rest of the game. Simply assuming two out of 100 players would have minimal impact fails to subvert the ethical question; instead, I will argue that our participation enhances the overall player experience, adding to the dynamic rather than limiting it, and subverting the original context, not destroying it.

First, there are numerous victories in which I, my duo, or the both of us survive the River Race, and go on to place in the top 5 of FNBR. It could be argued that our success is primarily due to our lack of participation; however, each placement in the top 5 came with at least two kills (elimination of another squad), and there are many players actively trying to win that implore a safer, noncombatant approach to aid their survival through to the endgame conflict.

Moreover, the race does not necessarily eliminate participation in the original game. RRBR puts players on a unique path that is minimal in loot, but ends at one of the most densely gear-populated areas on the map. In theory, RRBR is a handicapped opening to FNBR that has players arrive late to a high-action area. Instead of dropping into and competing over loot locations, RRBR players are delayed, such that they typically play at the extremes; in the circle, directly in the heart of conflict, or constantly chasing the circle, amidst the storm and frantic players.

Both situations result in playerinteractions not unlike the original concept; in short, RRBR could be interpreted as a strategy, albeit a low percentage one, and therefore does not hinder the experience of other players. The documented footage demonstrates unique interactions and combat experiences that one could argue enhances player experience, adding an entirely new dynamic to the game: a squad of poorly geared players that arrive at the circle from unorthodox, unexpected directions, dependent on superior positioning and map awareness to win. Lacking the equipment to outgun opponents, we rely on outwitting them, and feel even more satisfaction when we succeed.

RRBR has changed the way my friends and I approach the game. It demonstrates the value of in-game mechanics outside of aiming and shooting, develops player decision-making, and forces you to make use of the full potential of your limited resources. Despite never winning FNBR after successfully completing a River Race, what nobody realized was that I, my duo, or both, had already won.

Introduction and Southern Course:

Northern Course:

Matchmade River Race:

Duo Gameplay: