Many Fortnite fans on Reddit have observed that at top levels of play, a large number of Fortnite pros opt to use female character skins. This pattern seems to occur regardless of the player’s gender or whether that professional player has their own actual Fortnite skin available to them. So what is the real advantage that pro players receive from using female character skins?
This preference among Fortnite professonals has actually been noted since the game was still relatively new. In August 2018, Reddit user SwarlesBarkley3 asked, “Why do the overwhelming majority of pros/streamers use female character skins?” One common guess is that female characters may have smaller hitboxes than their male counterparts. This is the case in other battle royale games like Apex Legends, where the developer has endeavored to balance hitbox size against character abilities. For example, Gibraltar has one of the largest hitboxes in that game, but almost all of his tactical skills involve damage reduction for himself and his team.
Hitbox size would seem to be a reasonable assumption for skin preference, but gamers have found that the hitboxes in Fortnite seem to all be the same. In one illustrative video, Fortnite streamer Nexiph demonstrated that even characters with noticeably different profiles receive damage when players aim at the same point. One character, Crackshot, even wears a tall hat, which makes it appear like an easier target. However, bullets pass right over Crackshot’s accessories, just as they do on a character who appears to be physically shorter.
While smaller character models may not necessarily make Fortnite pros harder to hit, they may lessen player visibility. Fans have noted that since Fortnite is always played from a third-person perspective, some players feel that a smaller character model can make a player harder to spot, while funny skins with sight-blocking accessories may increase player visibility to a dangerous degree. Also, while most Fortnite skins are roughly the same size, skins with a lot of extras may make a player more visible around corners and behind other hiding spots, giving away their position.
If these advantages seem inconsequential, keep in mind that Fortnite is incredibly competitive at the professional level, and there are millions of dollars on the line in some tournaments. Any player skin choice that confers a slight advantage, or at least doesn’t introduce a disadvantage, could make the split-second difference in an encounter that high-level Fortnite victory requires. As a result, many pro Fortnite players opt to pick skins with more slender frames, such as the new Lara Croft skin.