Game Awards Adds Category for User-Generated Fortnite Maps — Including Alliance's Murder Mystery!

Above: Best Fortnite Island nominee Murder Mystery by Alliance (Island Code: 8513-2892-9361)

The 1oth annual Game Awards are announced here in LA on December 7th, and while the show has been attracting more viewers than the Oscars since 2018, this year includes another milestone — the first award for user-generated content on a metaverse platform. Specifically, The Best Fortnite Island of the year, with 10 nominees for community-created islands built in the Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN).

Created and hosted by Geoff Keighley — who back in the day, worked with me on an editorial project devoted to modding communities in gaming — it's a great addition to the Game Awards, recognition that UGC/metaverse platforms are a growing force in the game industry as a whole. Hopefully we'll see this become an official category in future Game Awards, across many platforms. (User-made Roblox experiences, I never tire of pointing out, are as popular as many top AAA games, and have become incredibly ambitious in recent years.)

Among the Best Island nominees is one close to my heart: Murder Mystery (Island Code: 8513-2892-9361). It was created by Alliance, a creative studio that's featured in my book for its innovative work creating branded Fortnite experiences for top brands like Doritos and Joe Biden's 2020 Presential campaign. (Seriously.)

Since launching Murder Mystery, Alliance CEO/co-founder Mackenize Jackson (aka MackJack) tells me it's been played over 4 million times in its first two months.

"We hit 1 million players in the first week of release," she tells me. "We’ve had a lot of players engaging with the game, making content, and we’re excited to continue making future content updates on the game!"

As the name suggests, gameplay is highly multiplayer and plot twisty:

"Very simple gameplay, leaning towards a hide and seek or sorts, but the Sheriff's job is to find and eliminate the Murderer, and the Murderer's job is to eliminate everyone without being caught," she explains." If the sheriff shoots the wrong person, the sheriff's weapon is dropped and someone can become the new sheriff. Players need to say alive until the Murderer is found and eliminated."
There's even a fun UGC element for players who get killed: "Players can select what their Ghost will look like and when they are eliminated, their custom ghost is left behind for other players to see where someone was eliminated."
Murder Mystery is part of the Epic Engagement Pay System, where user-created maps earn a cut of revenue based on player engagement, but MackJack tells me the payouts can vary widely, even for maps that attracts players in the six/seven figures. "It’s so vast that literally one month I’ve seen maps pull $30-50k and then the follow month it be $1-5k," as she puts it.
Then again, another reward is getting to participate in an awards show that's more popular than the literal Oscars. Here's information on how to vote for your favorite Fortnite island, and here's a list of this year's top 10 nominees.

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