Developer Epic Games is using a classic strategy to build up excitement for Fortnite Chapter 2. The studio is hoping that the absence of its free-to-play battle royale shooter will make players’ hearts grow fonder. And it seems like it’s working. Fans are engaging with the mystery of why they cannot play Fortnite.
It is The End for Fortnite. Or, at least, that’s what Epic is calling its latest live event. At 11 a.m. Pacific time (2 p.m. Eastern) on Sunday, October 13, an explosion tore apart Fortnite’s battle royale island. The map has seen similar explosions in the past. But this one was different because it created a blackhole that sucked in everything.
— IGN (@IGN) October 13, 2019
And “everything” doesn’t mean just the map. Players that were on the home menu at the time of the event saw the black hole absorb the user interface and various play modes. Even the error code couldn’t escape the gravitational pull.
— Creator Code ‘Atruckk’ [2K] #FaZe5 (@IAmATruckk) October 13, 2019
So now that’s it, right? Fortnite is over. Of course not. Epic has spent the last day broadcasting the blackhole in a livestream. If you log onto Fortnite, you also only see the massive singularity.
The studio is teasing something. Some numbers popped up that seem like they refer to an image on Google Maps. Season 11 is imminent, and recent leaks suggest that might introduce a new map as part of Fortnite Chapter 2.
Fortnite’s The End stunt is working
While you cannot play Fortnite right now, that is not hurting the game. Buzz about the event dominated social media Sunday.
Fans are also glued to the ongoing broadcasts. Fortnite’s blackhole livestream has 20,000 viewers on Twitter, 60,000 viewers on Periscope, and another 65,000 on Twitch. And those are just the official Fortnite channels. As of the time of publication for this story, Fortnite had more than 300,000 total viewers across all of Twitch.
The Fortnite community can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. But the appeal of this event is reaching beyond traditional Fortnite players. Mainstream media outlets like CNN, USA Today, and ESPN are all paying attention as well.
If Epic’s goal was to attract a huge mass of eyeballs for the reveal of Fortnite Chapter 2, it succeeded. It knew that the biggest thing it could do to get attention for Fortnite was to stop letting people play Fortnite.
Of course, this is not a marketing play Epic can go back to often. Some fans are already frustrated that they couldn’t spend their Sunday getting W’s with the crew.
Withdrawal symptoms of no Fortnite has begun.pic.twitter.com/w5vempcJ2w
— SLAM Gaming (@SLAMftw) October 14, 2019
But this event is new and novel enough that most people are enjoying it. And it’s not like Epic rushed into The End. The Battle Royale mode is more than two years old. It has had 10 seasons of content. Pulling the “Fortnite is dead” marketing move now could renew interest among new and lapsed players as it heads into the holidays.
When is Fortnite coming back?
Fortnite is likely returning soon.
Fans are going bananas trying to track down any info about when the next season will open up. Some are digging through the game code, and others are looking into hidden HTML on the Fortnite website. But the most obvious clue came from Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins who posted just the word “Tacos” to Twitter. So clearly, Fortnite is coming back for Taco Tuesday.
And when Fortnite does start back up again, this event ensured that return will feel momentous.