Fortnite has stunned fans by announcing the early end of its third map at the end of the current season via a live stream called Fracture, set to take place at 9pm UK time on December 3rd.
Today, developer Epic Games teased Fracture at the conclusion of the Fortnite Champion Series, its first major in-person Fortnite competition in several years. Fracture’s title card came after the presentation of the tournament’s trophies, which simply stated the date, time, and description of the upcoming live event as “Chapter 3 Final”.
Every in-game “chapter” of Fortnite so far has ended with a full reboot of the beloved battle royale island. Two years and 10 seasons later, the game’s original island was sucked into a black hole in October 2019. Two more years later, this time divided into eight seasons, the game’s second island was flipped to reveal the current map lying underneath in December 2021. .
Each new chapter has also usually been a springboard for Epic to introduce major new game mechanics such as the addition of swimming, boats, and other vehicles in Chapter 2. In the meantime, sprint, camouflage, and no build game mechanics have been added in Chapter 3.
Fortnite fans have a lot of questions tonight, which is without a doubt the intention of Epic Games. Why is Fortnite ditching its third map so quickly – after only 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 some idea. Fortnite leakers are confident that the long-awaited Unreal Editor will be coming to the game this December, which Epic boss Tim Sweeney previously promised will arrive at some point in 2022. Dubbed “Creative 2.0” by fans, this tool is expected to provide content creators with tools to make the Fortnite experience much more advanced than its current creative mode can allow. Sweeney has also previously discussed the idea that content creators can monetize their work, which is currently not possible in Fortnite itself. Adding all of this to Fortnite will probably go well with the new island map to grab attention.
Perhaps the name of this event, Fracture, is a nod to all of that – that Epic is handing over more of the reins of Fortnite to content creators and further downplaying the importance of its own core battle royale modes. Earlier this year, Sweeney stated that 50 percent of Fortnite game time is spent on experiences created by the creators.
But that doesn’t mean Fortnite’s own history is over – far from it. The villainous gaming organization Imagined Order ended in Chapter 3, but its main leader Geno is still at large and seems to be waiting in the wings for a full and proper introduction. There’s also the question of the current season’s all-consuming Chrome slime and the apocalyptic civilization behind it; currently led on the Island by a character called the Herald, he is ominously referred to as “The Nothing”.
The timing of all this is also interesting, with the Fortnite Fracture event set to take place just over two weeks after the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence – especially the announcement of this news now, just a couple of days before the launch of Activision’s revamped battle royale. This reminds me of when Epic was offering fans a free Fortnite Battle Pass around the time Apex Legends first came out.
Speculation time! Perhaps Fracture could also hint at another big change? I loved the current Chapter 3 map and all the changes it has made over the past 12 months and four seasons. For me, this is now the best of all Fortnite, with fan-favorite areas, remixes of classics, and a bunch of easter eggs. I would like it to stay longer… and maybe it will? Perhaps Chapter 3 ends so soon because this map will remain one of two to choose from – an idea that Fortnite has yet to try out, but that its competitors have been playing with for a long time. Fortnite Island now has two sides – can the current Chapter 3 map stay with the updated Chapter 2 map as a new option for Chapter 4?
One thing is certain, Fortnite Chapter 3 is less than three weeks away from release. And as the days count down – and as the novelty of Warzone 2.0 wears off – Epic Games will no doubt tease more.