Fortnite's Rise to Fame
Fortnite is one of the biggest success stories in video game history, and Epic Games got there by constantly adapting. The publisher constantly refines the game, keeping it fresh and appealing while maintaining the elements that gave it such a broad appeal in the first place. Many of the 350 million people who play Fortnite: Battle Royale may not even realize that Fortnite began with the paid Save the World mode, which still draws millions of players.
When Epic Games developed their Battle Royale mode in 2017, no one could have known that it was going to get so big so fast. But the devs moved quickly to accommodate the rapid influx of new players. They expanded, brought on new partners, and shifted resources to keep their players and draw in even more.
In order to allow for a regular refreshing of the game, Fortnite developed its system of Seasons. Each Season introduces new maps, skins, NPCs, and other game elements in line with an overall theme. Chapter 1, which ran from September 2017 to October 2019, had ten seasons over two years. Chapter 2, the current chapter, is ending Season 5 this month.
Traditionally, Fortnite ends each Season with a bang! This Season will be no exception - but the team continues to innovate, and some things will be new.
Season 5's Zero Crisis and How It All Ends
Season 5 follows a “Hunter” motif. It follows Agent John “Jonesy” Jones as he recruits hunters from a number of different realities to contain the latest threat. Each Season has brought in characters from popular movies, TV shows, and games to add to the fun. Season 5's hunters include the Mandalorian and “Baby Yoda” from The Mandalorian, Daryl Dixon and Michonne from The Walking Dead, Sarah Connor and the T-800 from The Terminator, Ripley and the Xenomorph from Alien, Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe, Master Chief from Halo, Kratos from God of War, and Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter.
Epic Games promises an “explosive conclusion” that will shake things up and “shape Reality as we know it.”
The devs have, understandably, been careful not to spoil too much of the plot. All we know is that the Zero Point Orb is cracking, and that’s bad news. But with this many characters from this many worlds, not to mention the millions of players, it’s sure to be big! Epic Games promises an “explosive conclusion” that will shake things up and “shape Reality as we know it.”
What’s new this time is that the conclusion will apparently be less movie and more game. Previous season endings have been appropriately "epic" in scale - the ending of Season 4 had the characters blow up the cosmic Marvel world-eater Galactus! - but have had relatively little player involvement. This time, it looks like the finale will be more interactive, with each player having the chance to individually “play through the conclusion.”
Unlike in previous seasons, players don’t need to log on at a specific time in order to experience the finale. You can play it on your own schedule when you first log in after its release. However, for those who have grown fond of the Big Event, Epic Games promises that the release date - Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - will still be a big show. Players will be able to watch things happen in real time. Epic hasn’t officially announced exactly how you can watch yet, but it’s likely to be available through the developer’s YouTube and Twitch channels, and likely those of a number of popular streamers as well.
Season 6: What’s Next?
Epic Games has been tight-lipped about the events of the coming season, and we don’t know anything for sure. Previous endings have seen the world remade by storms, floods, volcanoes, and meteor strikes, among other catastrophes. Yet none of those have had more destructive potential than the cracking of reality itself that now threatens the world.
Whether you grab your controller to play it when you’re ready or grab some popcorn to watch it with the world on Tuesday, the finale of Fortnite's Season 5 is going to be a big deal, and Season 6 is sure to bring even more amazing things.