Fortnite has made a resurgence at E3 this year. Originally announced at the Spike Video Game Awards way back in 2011, it was originally supposed to be one of the first games to showcase the then-newly announced Unreal Engine 4.

Fast forward to 2017 and much silence surrounding the game. Fortnite’s creative director Donald Mustard recently revealed that the initial announcement was made “three weeks after we came up with the idea.” When the announcement was made there was no game to speak of.

So what is Fortnite? It’s a co-operative action building game. Players must team up to scavenge and craft giant forts in a procedurally generated open-world. These forts will need to be defended against waves of mutated enemies. This isn’t simply build-your-own horde mode, however, as Fortnite will mix up its objectives:

“We have a huge array of mission types. Everything from rescuing people, which focuses more around exploration. Or we have build missions, which focuses around building. Then we have missions like Fight The Storm, which is an amalgam of all of those where you’ve got to gather resources, build a base and then you throw a switch and that summons the storm and that’s where all the creatures come from.”

Epic Games want to cater to different types of play styles, with missions for people who prefer scavenging, crafting or just plain shooting stuff.

This feeds into the different playable characters of Fortnite. There are different characters for different play styles. Ninja’s are highly mobile, melee range characters, for example. Other characters engage from afar with sniper rifles and assault rifles. Others are geared towards crafting traps and defences.

Even how you choose to approach the game is up to you (and your friends):

“We’ve got two different aspects of the game. We have our mission areas where you join up with other players and you go and execute a mission. Those missions are – you get a session together, you go into that procedurally generation world and you save people or shoot a giant laser into the storm and dispel it.

Or you go back to your home base and that’s your area where you can persistently build. You can bring resources back and grow that fortress over time. The bigger the area you hold with that fortress the more the map unlocks.”

Building a base in Fortnite has been simplified to make it easy to master and fast-paced, keeping the gameplay focused. All you need to do is whip out your glowing blueprint, highlight the 3×3 area you want to build on (or the wall you want to modify) and quickly build whatever you want. Handy to keep the game rolling. Also handy if you need to quickly rebuild during a monster attack.

Fortnite will launch sometime in 2018 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One as a free-to-play game. Anyone who wants to play early can purchase a Founder’s Pack and gain access from July 25, 2017.