A partnership with Fortnite and Nerf was released in the winter of 2019 and may actually be affecting the game itself.
The partnership featured five classic guns from Fortnite – the Tac Shotgun, the Scar, the Rocket Launcher, the Pistol, and the Silenced Pistol. These five guns are some of the longest weapons to remain in the game consistently.
That made them great candidates for a partnership with Nerf when creating their signature soft-shelled weapons. But has that partnership cemented those guns place in the game?
It’s actually possible. If you are Nerf and are signing a deal with Fortnite to use their signature guns, wouldn’t you want a stipulation that those weapons are actually going to remain in the game?
You probably would. It only would hurt sales of the weapons if they no longer appeared in game, and any deal of this magnitude would be vetted intensely by lawyers making sure every possibility is covered for their client.
This theory was first presented by Luminosity Gaming’s Beehive:
I just realized the reason the silenced pistol and the tac hasn’t been vaulted is because Fortnite collabed with Nerf to make 3 guns: Scar, tac and silenced pistol. I bet it’s in the contract to not remove them. This game is a fucking meme. pic.twitter.com/QBqPYKUtIO— LG beehive (@beehivegod) June 30, 2019
While this theory hasn’t been confirmed, it would explain why the silenced pistol hasn’t been vaulted despite rarely being utilized and why the Tac never seemed to be in the crosshairs of shotgun balance.
The Nerf partnership also included the Rocket Launcher and Pistol as Nerf Super Soakers. Neither of those weapons has been vaulted so that just further confirms Beehive’s theory.
The problems with corporate partnerships in Fortnite
These are the type of negatives that can come with a game so focused on corporate crossover. Fortnite – more than any other game in history – has made a focus on bringing brands and products into the game. Jordan, Marvel, John Wick, Marshmello, and the NFL are all examples of that.
But the goal of making a successful esport with a balanced meta, and the goal of bringing in companies can sometimes be opposing forces. This may be one of those times, and Epic has already shown they are going to choose the latter in these situations.