Play games online and you’ll be familiar with the idea of a “skill ceiling”: the concept of how good it’s possible to be at something, before there’s no more room to improve.
Fortnite Battle Royale has one too, except it’s a literal ceiling. I’m trapped underneath it — a flat pane of patchwork brick — by a bunnyhopping bear-person with a shotgun. I try to jump to safety, but manage only to donk my head, as the six-foot cuddly toy shoots me in the back.
As metaphors go, it’s an effective one, describing the extra dimension that Epic’s Fortnite brings to the now-familiar Battle Royale format: specifically, the ability to build things. In addition to guns, Fortnite lets players harvest wood, stone, and steel, before turning those raw materials into walls, ramps, and — yes — ceilings. Clever players can use these fortifications defensively, chucking up barricades, blockers, and even full-fledged forts in a flurry of left-mouse clicks, but the best players will also use them on offense. That’s how I ended up trapped in a flat-pack coffin by an anthropomorphised teddy.