Fortnite stunned fans by signaling the premature end of its third map at the end of its current season, via a live event named Fracture which will take place at 9pm UK time on December 3.
Fracture was teased tonight by developer Epic Games at the end of Fortnite Champion Series, its first major in-person Fortnite competition in several years. A title card for Fracture appeared after the tournament trophy presentation, simply listing the date, time, and description of the upcoming live event as “Chapter 3 Final Event.”
Every Fortnite in-game “chapter” so far has concluded with a complete reboot of the battle royale’s beloved island. After two years and 10 seasons, the game’s original island was sucked into a black hole in October 2019. After another two years, this time split into eight seasons, the game’s second island has been flipped over to reveal the current map which lies below in December 2021. .
Each new chapter has also generally been a playground for Epic to introduce major new gameplay mechanics, such as the addition of swimming, boats, and other vehicles to Chapter 2. Chapter 3, meanwhile, added the game’s sprinting, mantling, and No Build mechanics.
Fortnite fans have plenty of questions tonight – as Epic Games no doubt intends. Why does Fortnite appear to be leaving its third map so soon – after just four seasons, lasting just one year? What does ‘Fracture’ mean – and is there more to this supposed change than meets the eye? And what new additions will Chapter 4 bring?
On this last question, we have at least an idea. Fortnite leakers are confident December will see the long-awaited arrival of the game’s Unreal Editor – which Epic boss Tim Sweeney previously promised would arrive sometime in 2022. [UPDATE: Sweeney has now said this has slipped slightly, to late January.]
Dubbed “Creative 2.0” by fans, the tool should provide content creators with the tools to create Fortnite experiences far more advanced than its current Creative mode allows. Sweeney has also previously discussed the idea of content creators being able to monetize their work – which is currently not possible within Fortnite itself. Adding all of this to Fortnite would likely land nicely alongside a brand new island map to grab some attention.
Perhaps the title of this event, Fracture, is a nod to all of that – to Epic handing over the reins of Fortnite more to content creators, and further reducing the importance of its own core Battle Royale modes. Earlier this year, Sweeney said 50% of Fortnite playtime was taken up by creator-made experiences.
But that doesn’t mean the Fortnite story is over, far from it. Chapter 3 saw the end of the game’s villainous Imagined Order organization, but its overall leader Geno is still on the loose and apparently waiting in the wings for a full and proper introduction. There’s also the question of Chrome goo from the current season and the apocalyptic civilization behind it; currently ruled on the island by a character named The Herald, it is eerily referred to as “The Nothing”.
The timing of it all is also interesting, with Fortnite’s Fracture event scheduled to take place just over a fortnight after the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence – especially the news being announced now, just days before the launch of Activision’s revamped battle royale. It reminds me of when Epic gave away a free Fortnite battle pass to fans back when Apex Legends first came out.
Speculation time! Perhaps Fracture could also hint at another big change? I’ve come to love the current Chapter 3 map and all of the development that has gone on there over the past 12 months and four seasons. For me, it’s now a best-of for everything Fortnite so far, with fan-favorite areas, remixed classics, and tons of easter eggs. I wish he had stayed longer…and maybe he will? Perhaps Chapter 3 is ending so soon because this map will remain one of two to choose from – an idea that Fortnite has yet to try, but its competitors have long toyed with. Fortnite Island is now established as having two sides – could the current Chapter 3 map remain, with a revamped Chapter 2 map as a new option for Chapter 4?
One thing is for sure: there are less than three weeks of Fortnite Chapter 3 left. And as the days count – and the novelty of Warzone 2.0 wears off – Epic Games will no doubt tease more.
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