The world’s most pop­u­lar game Fort­nite gets an ex­ten­sive new up­date, with new lo­ca­tions, skins and for the first time, drive­able ve­hi­cles

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Fort­nite con­tin­ues its in­cred­i­ble dom­i­na­tion of both the gam­ing world and the ‘real’ world, in­cit­ing fear­ful head­lines as of­ten as it brings more play­ers to its Bat­tle Royale mode.

Sea­son 5 has just kicked off, bring­ing, as al­ways with a new Fort­nite up­date, a whole heap of bril­liant new touches to the Bat­tle Royale map. There’s a new Bat­tle Pass packed with chal­lenges to earn V-Bucks, un­lock new skins and the re­wards, and a new event and up­dates for the PvE mode Save The World.

The theme of this sea­son is ‘Worlds Col­lide’, with the rifts that had been tear­ing up Sea­son 4’s map fol­low­ing the launch of a rocket still present and suck­ing in Vik­ing ships and Wild West wag­ons from his­tory and spit­ting them out onto the Fort­nite is­land.

The most wel­come ad­di­tion for Sea­son 5 has to be drive­able ve­hi­cles. All Ter­rain Karts, which ba­si­cally look like golf carts, can trans­port up to four play­ers (your squad, ba­si­cally). With this ad­di­tion, one of ri­val bat­tleroyale game PUBG’s main points of dif­fer­ence, be­ing able to drive around the map, may well have been brushed aside. This is the first time Fort­nite’s Bat­tle Royale has in­cluded rides – and no, we don’t count shop­ping trol­leys. You’ll find these ATKs ran­domly in garages. With two squad mem­bers stand­ing on the rear, lean­ing back (pulling back on the left joy­stick) will help your buggy to make higher jumps. Drift­ing in the ATK will give you a Mario Kart- style speed boost, and you can use the roof as a bounce pad.

Wel­come to Par­adise

The many and var­ied changes to the Bat­tle Royale map this time in­clude a new desert biome, fea­tur­ing the to­pog­ra­phy of US deserts, such as tow­er­ing rock out­crops and canyons, with the dusty red landscape sprin­kled with gas stations and shacks. There are even lit­tle clus­ters of Mex­i­can ha­cien­das straight out of a West­ern movie. The desert area re­places Moisty Mire and the prison, oc­cu­py­ing a huge part of the south­east cor­ner of the is­land. Slap bang in the mid­dle of this is a swanky res­i­den­tial area and re­sort called Par­adise Palms, com­plete with a tow­er­ing ho­tel, called ‘Ho­tel 23’. Around here you’ll find ul­tra-mod­ern houses with swim­ming pools and garages full of ATKs, and loot. Lots of lovely loot. In fact Par­adise Palms has al­ready be­come a hec­tic kil­l­zone to ri­val Tilted Tow­ers, with play­ers scram­bling for the lo­ca­tion’s top loot op­por­tu­ni­ties.

An­other new lo­ca­tion, Lazy Links, has re­placed An­ar­chy Acres farm in the north of the is­land. As the name would sug­gest, it’s a Coun­try Club set­ting com­plete with ten­nis courts, swim­ming pool and a full sized golf course. You will ac­tu­ally be able to play golf here, al­though at the time of writ­ing we hadn’t quite worked out

“A real-life Durr Burger sign popped up in the Cal­i­for­nian desert”

how, since we were too busy be­ing shot at to fig­ure it out or find a ball and a bag of clubs we could use. There’s also a race­track here for you to tear up with your karts, mak­ing this prob­a­bly the most fun up­date yet.

Aside from those main lo­ca­tions, there are new in­trigu­ing points of in­ter­est ev­ery­where you look. Three big colour­ful di­nosaur stat­ues are lo­cated near Par­adise Palms in the desert area, while there’s talk of a Vik­ing set­tle­ment and ship to be found too.

And some of those rifts are still around the place. Step through the rifts and you are tele­ported, which could be very use­ful for es­cap­ing a tricky fire­fight you’re on the los­ing end of; these will zap you away from the lo­ca­tion and into the sky (with your glider, thank­fully), and you’ll need to sky­dive back to earth.

An­other new fea­ture that will change the way the game is played is that the storm now moves. Dur­ing the later rounds, not only does it shrink and close in, it also moves ran­domly to new lo­ca­tions. So you won’t be able to set up a fort and de­fend that one lo­ca­tion in the end-game – you’ll re­ally have to stay on your toes to keep in the safe-zone.

The new Bat­tle Pass for Sea­son 5 in­cludes good-look­ing new skins in­clud­ing Vik­ings, FBI agent, sol­dier, racer and a cos­tume fea­tur­ing a Kit­sune mask, un­locked of course by buy­ing a Bat­tle Pass and com­plet­ing its chal­lenges. How­ever, loot-box haters and skin­flints can re­joice too, the bat­tle pass has had an over­haul in this lat­est up­date. Pre­vi­ously you could only ac­cess the chal­lenges if you bought a Bat­tle Pass; now even if you don’t have one you’ll still be able to ac­cess three of the seven weekly chal­lenges. There’s a catch, though: the other four only un­lock when you buy the Bat­tle Pass… and you need to com­plete four to get the XP. Dang it. How­ever, buy­ing a Bat­tle Pass, aside from giv­ing you all the usual cool stuff, will grant ac­cess to Drift and Road Trip chal­lenges to un­lock unique new skins and other ex­tra re­wards.

Talk­ing of skins, this sea­son’s Leg­endary skins – Rag­narok and Drift – both have six dif­fer­ent ver­sions, with each tier un­lock­ing at 35,000 XP 75,000XP, 125,000XP, 250,000XP, and, fi­nally, 500,000 XP.

Fi­nally for Bat­tle Royale, the Vic­tory Royale end-screen has been up­dated with a slow-mo ef­fect when you get the last kill. A wel­come ad­di­tion since the end-screen has looked ex­actly the

same for some time now. Oh yes, and there are dances. Lots and lots of new dances to taunt your vic­tims with.

Fort­nite’s top and ace PvE mode Save The World, mean­while, also gets some up­dates in­clud­ing Wild West Hero skins – ba­si­cally cow­boy cos­tumes and some very cool­look­ing steam­punk weapons for your char­ac­ters, a new Road­trip event and a new Chal­lenge The Horde mode.

Food for fort

Fort­nite’s abil­ity to sur­prise and in­trigue with its up­dates and new Sea­sons is al­ready well es­tab­lished. In the fi­nal weeks of Sea­son 4, rifts had been ap­pear­ing all over the Bat­tle Royale map, pre­sag­ing the end of the sea­son in the same way that the ap­proach­ing comet spelled Sea­son 3’s doom a cou­ple of months back.

But mir­ror­ing Fort­nite’s crash­ing into the wider public con­scious­ness, the in-game rifts seemed to be por­tals into our own world too.

Just be­fore Sea­son 5’s launch, a real-life Durr Burger sign – ba­si­cally a gi­ant an­thro­po­mor­phic burger stick­ing out its tongue – popped up in the mid­dle of the Cal­i­for­nian desert. Now, ea­gle-eyed Fort­nite play­ers would have al­ready no­ticed that, within the game, the Durr Burger sign that was on top of the burger joint in Greasy Grove, had al­ready been sucked into a rift. Fol­low­ing this, fans be­gan shar­ing the co­or­di­nates of the Durr Burger on­line, and turned up in their droves to see the huge plas­tic beef-patty sand­wich for them­selves. Re­ports then be­gan to flood in of a man re­fer­ring to him­self as Agent #3678 hand­ing out cards at the lo­ca­tion. The card had a phone num­ber on it. Phon­ing that num­ber got only weird static noises, but on a US phone dial 3678 spells out ‘FORT’. Vis­i­tors to the site re­ported more than one agent present, and that the agents, de­spite claim­ing to know noth­ing of a videogame called Fort­nite, were nev­er­the­less re­spon­sive to those per­form­ing well known Fort­nite emotes like the Pop­corn and Bone­less dances.

Un­doubt­edly Epic’s lat­est up­date will not only feed the Fort­nite mas­sive and keep them coming back to their servers, but should en­tice even more gamers to get on board the Bat­tle Bus.

Above Penny, Ramirez and co get cow­boy’d up with steam­punk weaponry.

right The rifts that ate Sea­son 4 are still around the map, as are stage­coaches from the old West.

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