Fortnite's first major international tournament was held in Melbourne over the weekend, with a suite of Australians joining counterparts from Japan, North America, Europe, South America for a $400,000 prize pool. Australians held their own pretty well, taking out first and second in the tournament, but the more fascinating bit was the fact that the winning Aussie was able to dominate with a PS4 controller.
All of the Fortnite matches were played on PCs, and the majority of the tournament was made up of those playing with mouse and keyboard. But their controller compatriots had no qualms holding their own: not only did Leevi 'Breso' Breslin win the event with a gamepad, but four out of the top 20 players were also using gamepads.
Clutches up hard last game to go and win AO
— Breso (@BresoFN) February 2, 2020
Breslin's win makes him the first player to win an international Fortnite event anywhere in the game's three-year history using a controller, which is a pretty impressive feat. "I didn’t think I was going to win, my aim was to not come late so this is great. This tournament has been crazy,” Breslin said after the match.
Fortnite allows controller players to utilise aim assist, an option that's not available for those on mouse and keyboard. Aim assist is a pretty common technique for any shooter on console, helping balance the lack of precision controllers have compared to the more precise input of a mouse. But while the assist on tracking a target is helpful for controller players, professional Fortnite means they have to deal with the huge disadvantage of not being able to turn around or aim up and down with any speed. The final stages of a Fortnite game can have wild variations in height, either as players drop from one location to another or rapidly build into the sky as they try to stay inside the zone.
It's fascinating given that the controller versus mouse and keyboard debate has been raging on for ages, albeit in a very different context. Players and developers were worried for years about merging PC players with their console brethren, and what would happen to the quality of matches. In Fortnite at least, players can certainly hold their own.
The author attended the Fortnite Summer Smash as a guest of Epic Games.