By Andrew Webster
Fortnite just wrapped up its most recent large-scale live event, and it was a strange one — even by Fortnite standards. The event, dubbed “Fracture,” was meant as a sendoff for Fortnite Chapter 3, and now that it’s over, the game is down ahead of the launch of the next chapter on December 4th, which will introduce not only a new island, but characters like the witcher himself, Geralt of Rivia.
Before things kicked off, players were split into groups, hanging out on tiny floating islands with little to do but watch a countdown displayed on a TV screen. (My trio of players all sat around roasting marshmallows together.) That was followed by a cutscene in which The Herald, a relatively new Fortnite character, led an attack of tornadoes, and after a little bit of fighting, a gigantic chrome version of her appeared, somehow resulting in the entire island exploding into many, many pieces.
Following that, players found themselves floating amongst debris in space, while being told that “home is gone” right before the Zero Point — a kind of superpowered energy source in Fortnite lore — lassoed together a bunch of fragments of the destroyed island as well as players. From there, everyone had to work together to collect energy orbs to power the Zero Point for reasons that weren’t quite clear.
Whereas past Fortnite events have been heavy on action, whether it was a battle against Galactus or an explosive alien invasion, this one was a little more subdued. At times it felt like busywork. In order to power up the Zero Point, players had to perform simple tasks like building a snowman or finding matching objects to collect energy. They could also relive brief flashbacks from past events — like the mech vs. kaiju battle or the rolling cube — and talk to a few NPCs for basic quests. As the portal powered itself up, more fragments of the destroyed island would appear.
Once the Zero Point was powered up, the event shifted to another cutscene, in which Paradigm — a Fortnite character played by Brie Larson — appeared to oversee a new island being formed.
The whole thing lasted around 45 minutes, and it lacked the thrill of past events. (However, just like its predecessors, it made absolutely no sense unless you’re plugged into Fortnite’s ongoing narrative.) Currently, players logging in can’t do much but stare at a loading screen with a glimpse of the new island in the background. But that won’t last for long: Chapter 4 is due to launch on December 4th, and the splash screen shows off a number of new characters that are coming, most notably the Doom Slayer and Geralt. The art also teases the introduction of dirt bikes.
This is the third finale event in Fortnite’s history. Back in 2019, the original Fortnite island was sucked into a black hole, and a few days later Chapter 2 began. Two years after that, the new island flipped over ushering in the third chapter. Chapter 3 has been particularly notable, bringing the popular Zero Build mode to the game.
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By Andrew Webster