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