Fortnite pro Jaden ‘Wolfiez’ Ashman has assembled a group of fellow European pros for a bootcamp ahead of next month’s FNCS Invitational LAN in Raleigh, North Carolina – but the mission goes well beyond simply getting some reps in. The Red Bull-backed Wolfiez’ Den bootcamp is also giving the nine-strong group of pros a chance to entertain and showcase their personalities in an esports scene that the Brit says has become “stale” over time.
Back in 2019, it seemed as if Fortnite esports was about to take over following the big-money Fortnite World Cup, which attracted a lot of mainstream attention. Few remember those days better than Wolfiez, who as a then 15-year-old walked away from the World Cup with over a million dollars.
With COVID halting that momentum, Fortnite esports, as a spectacle, has struggled to get back to its former glory – something Excel Esports’ Wolfiez, and a lot of the other pro players in London for his bootcamp, want to see change.
“I feel like the Fortnite scene is a bit dead right now,” Wolfiez tells The Loadout. “Maybe not [completely] dead, but people don’t really want to watch right now, because it’s just a bit stale. So I felt like it was a good idea to bring loads of people together, especially when I’m able to incorporate Red Bull into the scene as well.”
While Wolfiez won’t be playing at the FNCS Invitational next month, the majority of the players at his bootcamp will be. He says that while this is a great opportunity to get some in-person practice in, pros are just as keen to use the experience to take their content game to the next level.
While there have been occasional third-party LAN events for Fortnite post-pandemic, the $1 million FNCS Invitational will be the first major FNCS offline event Epic has thrown for the battle royale since that famous World Cup more than three years ago. While it has supported Fortnite esports with regular online competitions and tens of millions of dollars in prize money, the surprisingly slow return to in-person competitions has caused some stagnation.
Although the FNCS’ return to LAN could be the start of a comeback for Fortnite esports, Wolfiez has come to realise that the scene’s young pro players need to diversify and build their individual brands.
“People are starting to realise that competitive Fortnite might not be as good as it was [before COVID] forever, and [Epic] are not gonna continue throwing huge amounts of money at their game to support competitive,” he says. “So now the pro players have realised that content is the way forward if you want to continue in the space.”
Content from the Wolfiez’ Den boot camp continues throughout this week on Twitch.
Keep your eyes on The Loadout for more insight from Wolfiez, as well as fellow pro players Tai ‘TaySon’ Starčič and Henrik ‘Hen’ Mclean, on the current state of Fortnite esports later this week.