This may be the last time you see Fortnite's Infinity Blade. (Credit: Epic Games)

About a week ago, game culture phenomenon Fortnite dropped an unexpected addition to the player's arsenal in the form of a two-handed sword from Epic Games' mobile RPG trilogy Infinity Blade, which is getting shelved due to the technical difficulties of keeping older iOS titles up-to-date. In Fortnite (download for iOS and Android), the sword was placed at the top of a new mountain, and it came with an intriguing set of tactical perks to let its wielders survive against opponents armed with ranged weapons.

However, the combined potency of the weapon and its perks proved to be too much for the battle royale competition, and the imbalance forced Epic to remove the item from Fortnite entirely. While the addition of melee combat and a "mythic" weapon tier are both enticing, the Infinity Blade apparently needs more time in Epic's forge.

SEE: How to play Fortnite Mobile and win: A guide for beginners

TechCrunch spotted a Twitter post from Epic that reads in part, "We messed up and rolled out the Infinity Blade overpowered / without good counters, especially in the end game.

The Infinity Blade has been Vaulted and we are re-evaluating our approach to Mythic items."

The Vault in Fortnite is a kind of penalty box where items are held when they no longer fit into the game's design, though they are sometimes re-introduced for limited-time events, or after gameplay adjustments.

The arrival of the Infinity Blade in Fortnite was met with resistance from the start, in part because it was available in the main battle royale mode and therefore difficult to avoid. Combine its high-profile presence with its sheer power and a reported lack of ways to counter its abilities, and you potentially have a recipe for frustration.

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With the Infinity Blade in hand, Fortnite players got twice as much health, the ability to leap long distances, and inflict high damage. In exchange, you could not carry any other weapons with you, and whoever killed you could pick it up and use it themselves.

Given that the Infinity Blade was only available at one specific location on the map, being anywhere near that area of the map was a gamble, if you didn't already have it in your hands. But due to the way that the playable area of Fortnite's battle royale map shifts and shrinks over the course of a match, it was possible to find yourself with nowhere to run.

In the end, it's hard to fault Epic for experimenting with different things to keep the Fortnite experience fresh for its millions of players. And the company responded to community feedback pretty quickly. Hopefully, Fortnite's next mythic weapon gets some more playtesting before getting unleashed.

Takeaways

  • Fortnite's new Infinity Blade sword has been removed by maker Epic Games after less than a week, due to gameplay balance issues.
  • This was to be the debut of a "mythic" class of weapons, but the sword has been moved to the "Vault," a section of the game where items are locked away if they don't fit into its current style.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.