Fortnite will be reborn on Sunday 4th December, when the game returns with its fresh Chapter 4 map.
The next era of Fortnite will welcome characters such as The Witcher’s Geralt, Doomslayer and The Hulk, plus new gameplay mechanics such as the addition of motorbikes to Epic’s hugely-popular battle royale.
Last night, Fortnite ditched its third map with shocking speed, as the game’s ever-changing Island was quickly consumed by the invading Chrome in a brief cutscene. Then followed an extended 30-minute event mode where players were tasked with reforging the Island anew, using a mix of familiar and fresh locales that look set to appear in Chapter 4.
The end of the event featured another cutscene – the one embedded here just above – where the heroic Paradigm (voiced by Brie Larson) succeeds in her mission to fuse the new Island together from the fragments players have corralled, as the game’s Zero Point macguffin lassoos chunks of landscape together.
The second half of this trailer also features numerous cameos from items and characters seemingly also on their way to Chapter 4, including The Witcher’s Geralt, Marvel’s Hulk, popular YouTuber Mr. Beast, Bethesda’s Doomslayer, and a pickaxe item which fans say is themed around All Might from My Hero Academia.
The artwork at the end of the trailer features a couple more characters – one of which will be of particular interest to long-time Fortnite lore fans. If you’ve read the Fortnite/Marvel Zero War comics, you may recognise the character with long dark hair as the long-promised Geno – the man behind Fortnite’s now-defeated villainous Imagined Order organisation.
Tonight’s live event began with a stylish – albeit short – cutscene which showed a number of Fortnite characters making their last stand against the Chrome from a fort built in the branches of the Reality Tree. As the Chrome closed in, lead by The Herald, the Fortnite heroes opened fire – but this only lead to the Herald returning, supersized. With the Island overrun, the Herald appeared to be consumed by the Chrome as well, resulting in the whole Island becoming unstable and disintegrating. (Honestly, why this happened was left disappointingly unclear.)
The next 30 minutes – a long time for a Fortnite event – marked its playable part, which took place on a set of small Mario Galaxy-esque chunks of Island that grew in number over time as players picked up Zero Point energy orbs. There was some fun to be had here, and plenty of Easter eggs for Fortnite fans including flashback videos to past iconic live events. Epic’s technical prowess was also on display, as the playable space grew in real-time as further map chunks were roped over and bolted on.
But this section also suffered from having too much to do, and the way much of it was laid out in a checklist-style rundown of stuff to find. Having these mini-quests layered on top of platforming and collecting orbs felt like a fussier version of Fortnite’s brilliant UFO mothership gameplay loop, where your goals were much simpler and you raced against the clock. As much as I enjoyed seeing the area expand over time – as well as its focus on puzzles rather than shooting – it’s fair to say this lacked the visual scale and pace of some other live events.
Overall, this was a different kind of Fortnite live event, and one that I’ve seen far more mixed reactions to than normal – as well as plenty of reports of people getting disconnected. It wasn’t what I was expecting – a proper Chapter 3 send-off – and it wasn’t at all what was suggested in the artwork for the event, which suggested we’d see the game’s previous map slowly ripped to pieces.
Still, seeing Fortnite’s third map suddenly blink out of existance was a neat narrative twist, and I appreciate Epic’s intent to build an experience that both lasted longer than normal and was appropriately themed around creation rather than combat. There was a lot here to see, though too much for any one player. I almost wish this experience had instead been a better structured mini-game mode, made available to replay.
As it is, I’m curious to see how much of the landscape players conjured into being will translate onto the new map, and I’m eager for Fortnite to offer answers to some of its biggest questions. What is Geno up to? Where are The Seven now? Is Polar Peak really coming back?
For now, there’s really only one question: what time will Fortnite Chapter 4 begin? That we do not know, but its launch trailer is set to go live at 8am UK time. Here it is: