Fortnite this weekend and, in the span of about five minutes, I was in a war zone-like Gotham City, atop a floating island held aloft by a purple cube, and in a swampy area where I could disguise myself as a literal barbecue and hide. Each area had its own rules — in Gotham, for instance, I could use my parachute anytime — and a different look to go along with it. On the single island that is home to Fortnite battle royale, it felt like I was playing five or six different games, packed with references to the game’s past and other media.
One of the best parts of Fortnite has always been its constantly shifting nature; part of the game’s massive success is its ability to be everything to everyone. That philosophy has been taken to its extreme in season X, where major changes have rolled out more frequently and exist alongside each other. In a quest to keep the game relevant, however, developer Epic has turned Fortnite v buck generator into something that now feels overwhelming. The game is bursting at the seams with purposeful nostalgia for its earlier, simpler times; off-the-wall features and items; and whatever news advertiser tie-ins Epic can manage.
Season X debuted at the beginning of August — immediately after the inaugural Fortnite World Cup — and it seemed relatively tame at first. There were new mech suits, called B.R.U.T.E., which proved controversial in competitive play, but most of the other changes were small in comparison. The most curious was what Epic described as “rift zones,” unstable areas where things could change. “Locations once thought to be lost are beginning to appear, but they aren’t the same as they once were,” the developer explained at the time.
The first rift zone was fun: an anti-gravity bubble over Loot Lake, where a giant time-bending explosion had occurred. Inside that bubble everything felt slow and dreamlike, making it particularly distinct from the rest of the island. But it wasn’t long before more rift zones appeared, and brought with them much more significant changes. There was Neo Tilted, a sci-fi metropolis introduced in season 9, which was turned into Tilted Town, a Wild West-themed area designed for shootouts. In fact, it introduced a new ruleset explicitly focused on shooting — when you were in Tilted Town, you couldn’t build or destroy objects. Your character even wore an old duster and the game was rendered in a sepia tone.
Later, a zone appeared that transformed Mega Mall back to classic location Retail Row, and brought with it the not-zombies that spawn from giant, purple crystals. Moisty Palms — another callback to early Fortnite — then appeared in the middle of the desert, a lush oasis that included a new gameplay element where players can turn into “props,” disguising themselves as inanimate objects like garbage cans or comfy chairs. This same update brought back the fast food-themed area Greasy Grove, where players get so excited for tacos they can’t help but dance. Oh, and there’s currently a hotel on a small island floating across the map.EACH OF THESE AREAS HAS THEIR OWN RULES
Some of these new zones have also been branded. At the end of August, just ahead of the launch of Borderlands 3, an area of Fortnite’s map was transformed into the alien world of Pandora, complete with a new art style. And just this weekend the Wild West of Tilted Town was no more: instead, it transformed into Gotham City, just in time for Batman’s 80th anniversary. Again, each of these areas has their own rules. In Pandora, you could automatically generate a shield inside of the zone, while everyone in Gotham gets their own Batman cowl, complete with the ability to redeploy their glider at will.