We talked to famed Fortnite Deathrun creator Sophieex. We discuss her inspirations, the map creation process & more!
Fortnite remains one of the most popular games in the world five years into its initial release. On September 26, 2017, the Epic Games-created Battle Royale mode arrived and completely reshaped the gameplay in the subgenre. However, beyond Battle Royale, Epic Games found ways to further innovate Fortnite, which infinitely increased replay value and pushed the boundaries of creativity. Through Creative Mode, Epic gave individuals the tools they need to innovate. As a result, Fortnite Deathrun maps were born, and creators such as Sophieex used these to catapult a career in map creation.
Sophieex has been featured a whopping 18 times by Epic Games, making her a prominent creator in the Fortnite scene. We had a chance to speak with Sophieex following her appearance on Fortnite’s YouTube channel in the video “Sophie – Created in Fortnite.” We covered a range of topics, including her inspiration, how she got into Fortnite, how long it takes her to develop a map, and much more!
What is a Fortnite Deathrun?
Deathrun maps in Fortnite are a challenging yet more relaxing aspect of Fortnite. Some players enjoy the competitiveness within Battle Royale and Zero Build, whereas others flock to Deathruns for a change of pace. In Fortnite Deathruns, the opponents are the obstacles, traps, and yourself.
These Deathrun maps range from infuriating to downright enjoyable–and sometimes both. Sophieex is responsible for many of the most well-known and polished Deathrun maps Fortnite has ever seen. We tried one ourselves, and we suffered 251 eliminations en route to victory. Make no mistake about it, some of Sophieex’s Deathrun maps are challenging, but all are fun and rewarding when you ultimately reach the finish line.
Sophieex’s background and love for Fortnite
Hello Sophie, it’s great to meet you. Please tell our readers about yourself.
Sophieex: “Hi! I’m Sophie. I’m a mom of three and I create maps within Fortnite.”
How long have you been involved in Fortnite?
Sophieex: “I’ve been playing Fortnite Battle Royale since the day it came out, and I ventured into Creative about three years ago.
I got into Creative because I used to watch a streamer who used to play Creative maps, like Deathruns. I had an idea and thought it would be fun to create a Deathrun that he wouldn’t be able to complete. I created it, and I made it as difficult as I possibly could, and he never finished the map! There are many more reasons why I love making these, but that’s where my love for creating maps in Fortnite started.”
What drew you to the game at first? What has kept you coming back?
Sophieex: “Before Fortnite, I used to play another first-person shooter game. I played with a big group – there were about eight of us that played together every single day. One day someone in my group said, ‘Hey! There’s this new game. We’ve got to try it.’ The rest of the group passed – they wanted to stick with what they knew.
Then one day, on the day of Fortnite’s release, we all decided to try it. From then on I absolutely fell in love with Fortnite and I didn’t go back to my old game.
What keeps me going is that everything is changing all the time in Fortnite. There’s always new stuff, new weapons, new things in Creative, and new maps to play. On top of that, the storyline of Fortnite is just so ever evolving.
I think it’d be really difficult to play a video game that’s exactly the same for five years. You can’t just keep playing the same thing. With Fortnite constantly changing and shaking things up it really does keep the game exciting. It keeps it fun.”
The finer points of developing top-tier Fortnite Deathrun maps
As a deathrun fan myself, I’m wondering what goals do you try to accomplish when creating new maps?
Sophieex: “One of my favorite things is colors and visuals. I really like it when things are bright, pretty, and sparkly. I like maps to look good.
I always make sure everything works perfectly so, for example, people don’t run into something that doesn’t work halfway through a map. I also don’t want things to get boring or tedious. I try to keep it exciting and I switch things up so it’s fun the entire time and not just for the first ten minutes. Additionally, I aim to make everything doable for people at all skill levels, not just people who have done Deathruns before.
I try to make it obvious where players need to go next as well because that’s something people don’t often think about. For example, if you land on a platform, you’re just standing there, and if you’ve got no idea where to go I always have something drawing your attention to where you need to go next.
And of course, making sure people have fun. The most important one is making sure people have fun!”
How long does it normally take you to design a new deathrun map?
Sophieex: “This is kind of a difficult one to answer because sometimes, like before this interview, I produced a Level 100 map within 24 hours. Don’t get me wrong it was hard – really hard work – but I managed it in 24 hours.
Then I’ve got other maps that have taken a couple of weeks, and then I’ve had some that have taken me a couple months. It all really depends on how my inspiration is at the time. If I don’t have inspiration, then I don’t have ideas, and I won’t force that. So it depends on my level of creativity at the time.
Also, it depends on what type of map you’re making because sometimes it can take months to get the game mechanics side of it down, but then other times it can take months to get the aesthetic side of it. So, it all depends.”
Do you enjoy making easy or challenging maps more? Please explain why.
Sophieex: “This is also a difficult one! I can’t decide between easy or challenging. I absolutely love making extremely hard levels, but some people don’t enjoy them as much because they can’t do them. It makes sense: you tend to not like playing something you can’t do. So I love creating them, but I’ve toned down making so many because from the feedback I’m getting from my maps people enjoy the easier ones a lot more.
The most important thing for me is getting good feedback and as long as I know people are having fun. That’s why I like building! I like building something people enjoy.”
Working new mechanics into Creative Maps, Sophieex’s inspiration, and becoming a recognized map creator
Has the process been more challenging since Epic introduced new mechanics such as sprinting and mantling into Fortnite?
Sophieex: “I wouldn’t call them challenges, but one of the things I’ve run into is this: before when you got close to a platform and if you wouldn’t quite make it then you would fail the level. Now you can mantle on to things – you can just grab the platform. Obviously, I can turn mantling off in my maps, but when you’ve got something in the game you don’t want to take that away from players because they’re so used to being able to use it.
So I just had to adapt how I’ve made maps. I guess I’ve made them a tiny bit trickier! Now in my maps when you do get within reach of mantling, then you mantle on to the platforms instead of just landing on them.”
Where does your creative inspiration come from when designing new maps? How are you inspired?
Sophieex: “I’ve struggled with this question before – this is a question I get a lot from people.
But let’s take a look at my first two Deathruns, the 100 Level Deathrun Part One and the 100 Level Deathrun Part Two. Those were all black walls with pretty lights and pretty blocks that you jump on. After building that section of the map, I had to think of how to move things forward from that point. Instead of the black walls and lights, I added these colored blocks on the walls. I kept switching and intertwining these elements.
Anything that’s bright gets me excited and from there my ideas just flow. I think I get my inspiration from colors. For example, If I’m in a blue section of my map, I’ll get loads of ideas for Impulse Grenades or Air Vents because the devices are blue. “
How did you go about getting 18 of your creations recognized by Epic Games?
Sophieex: “My first ever Deathrun got seen by a Creator who had already been noticed by Fortnite. He told me my map was really good and that I should put it in for a feature. I didn’t know what that was at the time!
I submitted and the Fortnite team absolutely loved it. They put it in what was called the Hub at the time. So, it was actually another Creator who encouraged me to try and get it featured.”
How Sophieex involves her children in map creation and discussing the future of Fortnite
As a mom of three, do your kids play Fortnite or have any input on your deathrun creations?
Sophieex: “My youngest is absolutely obsessed with Fortnite – everything Fortnite. My two girls play every now and then. Sometimes they test my maps. I get them to play my maps before other people play to make sure the difficulty is right. If they get stuck on a level I’ll ask them, ‘How could I make it easier for you?’ and they’ll give me solutions on how.
I always put little secrets in my maps. In one of my maps there are three teddy bears hidden within the map and each one have my kids’ names on them. They absolutely loved it, they were so excited. They love what I do!”
What do you hope to see down the line as Fortnite continues growing?
Sophieex: “I’m really excited for the direction Fortnite is going in because the main storyline is super exciting.
On the Creative side, we’re always getting new devices and new things to use so we can make completely different experiences than ones we’ve made before. I hope that we get a lot more different kinds of devices. I hope we get to recolor a lot more things because being able to recolor the trees and the grass has made things so much more fun with decorative maps. Before it was just normal grass, but now you can make pink grass. So I hope we get more customizable stuff.
I just hope Fortnite keeps progressing and keeps being amazing!”
Do you have any long-term goals as a Fortnite map creator? If so, what are they?
Sophieex: “I wouldn’t classify them as long-term goals or such, but I always want to keep improving. I want to make sure that with every map I do release, they are better than the ones before. I want to be the best I can be and to always keep learning. There’s always more that I can learn.”
What do you enjoy outside of Fortnite deathruns?
Sophieex: “I’m quite a home bug! I like being home a lot, but I also do enjoy going out with the kids. We do a lot of days out, making memories.
I do like spending time with my family. We don’t get to spend as much time together anymore because everyone’s got work and kids and such, but we do make an effort to make time for family days. I do enjoy those days a lot – my family is my life.”
We’d like to thank Sophieex for taking some time to speak with us! Also, you can check out her social media links below and a few of her featured Fortnite Deathrun maps!