Fortnite stunned fans by signaling an early end to its third map at the conclusion of its current season, via a live event called Fracture scheduled for 9pm UK time on December 3.
The breakout was teased tonight by developer Epic Games at the conclusion of the Fortnite Champion series, the first major character Fortnite competition for several years. A title card for the break appeared after the tournament’s trophy presentation, simply listing the date and time of the upcoming live event and describing it as the “Final Chapter Three Event”.
So far, every in-game “chapter” of Fortnite has ended with a full reboot of the beloved Battle Royale island. After two years and 10 seasons, the game’s original island has plunged into a black hole in October 2019. After another two years, this time divided into eight seasons, the game’s second island has flipped over to reveal the current map beneath it in December 2021.
Each new chapter was also a springboard for Epic to introduce major new gameplay mechanics, such as Chapter 2’s addition of swimming, boats, and other vehicles. Meanwhile, Chapter 3 has added the Run, Cover and No Build mechanics.
Tonight, Fortnite fans have many questions – as is undoubtedly the intent of Epic Games. Why does Fortnite seem to be moving from its third map so soon – after only four seasons, and lasting only one year? What does “fracture” mean – and is there more to this supposed change than meets the eye? What new additions will Chapter 4 bring?
On this last question, we have at least an idea. Fortnite leakers are confident that this coming December will see the arrival of the game’s much-anticipated Unreal editor — which Epic chief Tim Sweeney previously promised would arrive sometime in 2022. [UPDATE: Sweeney has now said this has slipped slightly, to late January.]
Dubbed “Creative 2.0” by fans, the tool is expected to provide creators with the tools to make Fortnite experiences far more advanced than the current Creative Mode allows. Sweeney previously discussed the idea of creators being able to monetize their work – something that isn’t currently possible within Fortnite itself. The addition of all of this to Fortnite along with a brand new island map will likely land some attention.
Perhaps this event’s title, Fracture, is a nod to all of this – to hand Epic more of the reins of Fortnite to content creators, and to reduce the importance of its core Battle Royale modes. Earlier this year, Sweeney stated that 50 percent of Fortnite’s playtime was consumed by creator-made experiences.
But that doesn’t mean the Fortnite story is over – far from it. Chapter 3 marked the end of the game’s sinister Imagined Order, but its general leader Geno is still at large, seemingly waiting in the wings for a full and proper introduction. There’s also the matter of Chrome goo devouring all of the current season, and the horrific civilization behind it; It is currently led by a character called The Herald on the island, ominously referred to as “The Nothing”.
The timing of all of this is also interesting, as Fortnite’s Fracture event has been timed to occur two weeks after the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence – especially the announcement of this news now, just two days before Activision launches the revamped battle royale. It reminds me of when Epic offered a free Fortnite Battle Pass to fans around the time Apex Legends first fell.
Speculation time! Maybe the breakage also hints at another big change? I’ve grown to love the current Chapter 3 map and all the developments that have occurred on it over the past twelve months and four seasons. To me, it’s by far the best Fortnite has yet, with fan favorites, remixes of classics and tons of Easter eggs. I’d like her to stay longer…and maybe she will? Chapter 3 may be ending soon because this map will remain one of two to choose from – an idea that Fortnite hasn’t tried yet, but one that its competitors have long played with. Fortnite Island is now created as two-sided – can it still be the current Chapter 3 map, with a revamped map from Chapter 2 as a new option for Chapter 4?
One thing is for sure: There are less than three weeks left of Fortnite Chapter 3. And with the days counting down — and with Warzone 2.0’s novelty waning — Epic Games will be getting more and more exciting.
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