On the face of it, Fortnite and Resident Evil couldn’t be more different. Sure, Epic Games and Capcom came together for an official collaboration ahead of Halloween last year – which brought Resi-themed character models, back bling and pickaxes to the Island – but visually, tonally, thematically, and conceptually both games are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Right? Officially, yes. Unofficially, one fan-driven project has closed the gap considerably.
I consider myself a pretty accomplished Resident Evil player. I spent the summer of 1996 running scared around the Spencer Mansion before graduating to the RPD HQ a couple of years later. The mere thought of fleeing Nemesis kept me up at night at the turn of the millennium, and I’ve revelled in every far-fetched tale the series has spun since – from Leon S. Kennedy’s jaunt to rural Spain, through to Ethan Winters’ ill-fated escape to Eastern Europe. And yet, I discovered one of my all-time favourite Resident Evil experiences exists recently in Fortnite Creative – xVonKlutch’s Resident Evil Spencer Mansion project, a meticulous recreation of the first game’s setting and narrative within the bounds of the battle royale’s independent sandbox game mode. “Playing Resident Evil when I was younger was a family event,” says creator xVonKlutch. “The similarities, the Easter Eggs, the map itself – these things are all ingrained in my brain, so it was a case of taking all of this and dropping it into Fortnite.”
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As you may have read recently, I’ve become hooked on weird Fortnite roleplay servers. From Squid Game to Cyberpunk 2077 and Home Alone, the variety of player-made creations now readily available is huge, and while the quality of what’s on offer is equally variable, the best and most ambitious projects are nothing short of brilliant. xVonKlutch’s Resident Evil Spencer Mansion is well-placed among the latter camp as an almost 1:1 recreation of the 1996 survival horror classic. From the moment you first burst through the doors of the Spencer Mansion and lose Barry, to spotting the blue jewel-embedded statue above the Dining Hall, encountering your first undead, sprinting along that zombie dog hallway, and discovering the poor animal keeper’s ‘itchy, tasty’ diary – it’s all there, recreated in Fortnite to excellent effect.
Having dipped my toe into so many Fortnite Creative projects over the last few weeks, I half-expected to spend 10 minutes or so wandering around xVonKlutch’s Resident Evil Spencer Mansion, get the gist of what was on offer, then log out and move onto the next. But it’s all so well realised that I instead found myself fumbling over its puzzles and legging it from its Hunters (portrayed in-map by Fortnite’s dinosaur-like Klombo character models) some three hours later. This attention to detail, xVonKlutch tells me, is something the creator strives for in everything they do.
“I’m a kid of the 90s, and so when we played as a family my dad would often have the controller, and then you’d have me and my mum saying things like: ‘Oh, look, there’s a shiny object!’ Playing Resident Evil as a kid was one of those things that just stuck with me,” xVonKlutch explains. “My Fortnite creation follows the exact same map as the original game – pulled from memory, and watching hours of YouTubers, clips, and longplays.”
“I’m one of those people who likes to have a very firm idea in their head. I hate being halfway through a project and not seeing it through, so I’ll work on something for days and days on end. While I was working on this one, I’d have a laptop on the right hand side of me, and my Nan kept asking about the noise of over-exaggerated footsteps – you know, a signature of those early Resi games – I’d be tapping away the entire time.”
From start to finish, xVonKlutch’s Fortnite Resident Evil Spencer Mansion project took around three weeks to complete, which is pretty remarkable given how closely it reflects its source material. I’ve now played Jill Valentine’s scenario from start to finish, and found myself scratching my head at the same moments that halted my progress in the first game (again, testament to how well-researched xVonKlutch’s work is), jumping for joy after overcoming the same boss battles (here’s looking at you, giant attic-dwelling snake baddie), and running for dear life at the same junctures when my health was low with no green herbs in sight (basically any time zombie dogs invaded my screen). xVonKlutch has also created a separate Chris Redfield-starring scenario which, like the original game, overlaps and unfolds around Jill’s adventure.
xVonKlutch says the Fortnite Creative scene has been on the ascendency since its introduction in 2018, but that over the last 12 months or so it’s seen a boom in activity and creativity. The creator tips their hat to fellow Resi fan and Fortnite creator Bryansummers, whose Resident Evil 0 venture recreates the horror prequel and requires two players team up. Elsewhere, xVonClutch themself has crafted equally-impressive Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Solid projects, but as a die-hard Resident Evil aficionado, has plans to expand further into Capcom’s zombie-ridden universe.
“The feedback has been fantastic. You can always tell people that love the Resident Evil franchise, and they’re familiar with it. You just know a diehard Resi fan when you see one, they get all the in-jokes, the nods and the winks to the games, the ‘itchy, tasty’ moments and things like that,” xVonKlutch continues. “Ultimately, I want to give people the feeling I get when I play these games, and being able to recreate that in Fortnite is a great feeling too. One of the best feelings is having people engage with your work and just get it.
“In terms of what’s next, I want to continue supporting this and my other projects, for sure. As for continuing Resident Evil… I do have plenty of plans, let’s just say that.”
I for one hope that a Fortnite-flavoured take on the Racoon Police Department is in xVonKlutch’s plans, but I guess we’ll just need to keep our eyes fixed on their channels. In the meantime, you should absolutely check out their Fortnite Resident Evil Spencer Mansion map, especially if you’ve a penchant for horror games and surviving the undead. It really is itchy, tasty.
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