If I’m being truly honest, I find it almost frustrating. I’m currently trying to deep-dive into No Man’s Sky, I want to jump into the Spider-Man DLC, I still need to finish Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3 and so many others. And yet, Epic Games simply won’t let me.
With yesterday’s release of Fortnite: Season 7 they have completely refreshed the southwest corner of the island. A massive, drifting iceberg has hit and completely buried named locations Greasy Grove and Flush Factory. In their place, three new locations have been introduced; Polar Peak, Happy Hamlet and Frosty Flights, as well as a scattering of smaller towers and cabins peppered throughout the area.
The snowy landmass has introduced ziplines which can be found across the the whole map for an effective change of altitude. They work in both directions, although aren’t very fast so leave you wide open to the weaponry of anyone in range. As well as this, there was one other subtle update. If only I could remember what it was…?
YES, you can now take to the skies in a biplane fitted with a mounted machine gun! It isn’t uncommon to see an aerial dogfight happening overhead, or to be chased across the landscape as gunfire rains down from above. I was able to jump into one of these ‘Stormwings’ on my very first game and within seconds I was boosting and barrel-rolling through the skies. Before long, another player latched on to my tail and I found myself in an adrenaline-fuelled game of aerial cat-and-mouse. It wasn’t long before I was shot out of the sky but was surprised to find that your character automatically enters a skydive/glide mode when this happens. Personally, I think this is too forgiving and you should be killed if you’re onboard when your Stormwing blows up. You always have the option to bail out before this happens.
Despite these colossal changes, Epic has also found time to develop and introduce a brand new ‘Create’ game mode. Players can now customise their own private island, populate it with structures and assets, and tailor the experience with their own rules before inviting up to 16 players. I’m sure this mode will be a large part of Epic’s plan going forward and they have already announced how they will be implementing player creations into part of the Battle Royale map (unfortunately at the loss of Risky Reels… for now).
As with previous seasons, Epic has created a ‘new set of rules’ providing the foundation for the season and defining how people play the game. Obviously, they will continue to keep the gameplay fresh on a weekly basis on multiple fronts; temporary gameplay modes, new weapons and equipment, weekly challenges and subtle map updates provide a certain amount of environmental storytelling. Combined with the Battlepass system, Epic have created an incredibly successful formula that ensures the spotlight continues to be focused on their game.
It will be really interesting to see how Epic continue to refresh the game over the next 12 months, and how they will hold players’ enthusiasm. It’s difficult to imagine how we can improve on barrel-rolling biplanes but Fortnite has been an unstoppable force throughout 2018. It’s truly dug it’s heels in and held strong against a storm of competing Battle Royale games. Epic haven’t put a foot wrong so far but with the eye of the storm closing, time will tell if Fortnite can stay on top for another 12 months.
I will find the time to get lost in the infinite universe of No Man’s Sky. I’ll grab a couple of days over Christmas to plow through that Spider-Man DLC. Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3? It would be a crime to leave you both half-finished…
For the time being though, I have 90 Season 7 Battle Pass tiers to complete…