Bots are coming to Fortnite in the next season, and they will be programmed to behave similarly to normal players. Epic Games made the announcement in a post detailing upcoming updates for v10.40 of the game, which focuses on matchmaking.
Since the Battle Royale version of the game launched, matchmaking for the main modes of the game has undergone little change. Now the developer states that "the range of player skill has grown considerably" over the past few years. In the next update, improved matchmaking logic will be added to created matches that are fairer. What exactly does all of this mean, though, and what does it have to do with the introduction of bots?
For starters, fairness according to Epic Games means facing off against similar skilled opponents. As your skill improves, so too will the opponents you are matched against. Here's where the addition of bots can play a central role in creating those fairer matches for players of all levels of skill.
Epic goes on to say that the bots “will work in conjunction with the new matchmaking system, and as your skill improves, you’ll face fewer Bots. Bots will not be present in Competitive playlists. This is another system that we will continue to update and iterate.” Overall, this points to bots being used primarily as a learning tool for newer players. That being said, there are other applications that they could be used for - assuming the AI looks and behaves like a real person.
One idea would be to help round out teams on consoles with lower player numbers. Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch, for example, routinely has longer queues and smaller teams for the Limited Time Modes. While on a PC, players can expect to consistently face off with teams of 50v50, the Switch often sees the same mode with fifteen or twenty people on each side, on average.
Bots that look and act like real players could make those games feel less like ghost towns, though again, it requires a convincing AI program. Otherwise if bots are too obvious in their identity, they may be mass targeted by players for easy kills and items.
Overall, the addition of bots seems to be a great idea as it gives new players a place to hone their skills. With that in mind, it would be fantastic to be able to create custom games with any number of bots with a range of competency to be able to practice as well.
Better players would translate to more even matches for the majority of players. More importantly, it would probably lessen the chance of Epic Games releasing another overpowered mech like the B.R.U.T.E. in Season X, which has been a bane for too many players.
Currently, there's no official start date for Season 11, but a conservative estimate would be October 6 as most new seasons start shortly after the previous one ends. This means that in about two weeks, we'll be able to start observing and evaluating the success of these bots.