Now that I’m officially a Fortnite guy, it felt like I had a duty to tune in on Dec. 4 at 4:00 p.m. ET as Epic Games capped off the eighth and final season of Chapter 2, marking a new phase for the ongoing story. I was not disappointed.
Epic set the standard for its chapter conclusions back in 2019 when Fortnite‘s first stretch of seasons (and the story that wrapped around them) concluded with a blockbuster event in which players watched as the battle royale mode’s trademark island got sucked into a black hole. The game went effectively dark at that point, coming back online a day and a half later with a brand new island and a fresh story to tell.
Fortnite is indeed offline again with the conclusion of Chapter 2, but no one is under any illusions this time. Where in 2019 it was preposterous to even consider a world where that black hole marked the end of Fortnite forever, now players can feel full confidence that the downtime is temporary, and setting the stage for some big changes.
Those changes will have to wait for another day, as Epic isn’t sharing specifics just yet. But the Season 8-capping event nonetheless gives us plenty to talk about now.
The event started out by dropping all players at the distant outskirts of a central map location (and key story location) known as Cube Town. The fully playable opening section of the event armed everyone with guns and limitless ammo to take on increasingly numerous and deadly forces led by Season 8’s chief antagonist, the Cube Queen, while her weirdly pizza pie-shaped UFO armada hung in the sky overhead.
After a few minutes of pitched fighting against the Queen’s forces, the event shifted over to an extended cutscene in which a captive Agent Jones, a central Fortnite character, is apparently about to be executed by Doctor Slone, another key player in the ongoing story. But that’s when Epic’s writers threw a wrench into her plans. Or, more accurately, a Rock.
Yes, Dwayne Johnson has officially joined the cast of Fortnite. Season 8’s finale introduced him as a mysterious armored figure known as The Foundation, and he’s likely to play a critical role in whatever lies ahead. It’s The Foundation who barges in and saves Jones. He’s also seemingly leading the charge against the Queen, with a brazen plan to flip over Fortnite’s entire battle royale island onto her head.
That’s exactly what happened. After a playable escape sequence in which my squad and I followed one of Foundation’s allies through a crumbling underground facility — demolished Battle Bus and all — we ended up back in the ocean with the island, in mid-flip, visible on the horizon. As the island finished its somersault, burying an audibly distressed Queen in the process, a massive wave swept across the screen swallowing everyone.
That’s where the event ended. Fortnite is officially offline now, as of around 4:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 4, 2021. It’ll almost surely be back online by the end of the weekend. And when it returns, whatever’s next for Epic’s imaginative battle royale will be waiting. If it’s anything like the shift from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 expect a new island at the very least, and probably some tweaks to the way Fortnite plays. At one point during the Jones cutscenes, he’s wielding some fancy sci-fi pistol that The Foundation seems to covet. It sure would be nice to play with that thing.
We won’t know for sure until Fortnite is back, though. For now, all you’ll see if you open the game is a bird’s eye view of an endless oceanscape, and a small figure in the middle floating on what looks like a piece of driftwood. Epic’s Fortnite account started streaming that view live on Twitter as the event came to a close as a separate tweet exorted fans to “flip your world” as part of an effort to reveal the next chapter.
Credit: Epic Games / Screenshot by Mashable