The fruit of an inadvertent leak, it appears Epic Games’ flagship battle royale, Fortnite, is due for a desperately-needed facelift.
Never before seen art appeared as the listing image for the Fortnite app on the Italian iteration of Apple’s App Store earlier today. It seems to showcase a brand new look for the game, and possibly more revealingly, a titular rebranding as “Fortnite: Chapter 2,” instead of the regular numbered season nomenclature.
The image depicts a trio of standard Fortnite models sporting new default clothing and looking out over an expanse of verdant hills and snaking waterways. Look closer, and you can spot boats navigating the snaking rivers and a lighthouse, suggesting Fortnite is on the cusp of an aquatic makeover where players can commandeer naval vessels.
The location doesn’t correlate with any of the existing locales on Fortnite’s ever-changing map. Epic has an excellent track record of environmental storytelling – a cornerstone of maintaining player interest. An overhaul of an existing portion of the map or possibly a new map entirely would work into that narrative.
The new map theory loses a bit of weight if we clock the city to the right of the image, which has an uncanny resemblance to Titled Towers. That said, a data-mined leak last month appeared to reveal no less than 13 new locations, a number far too big for the variety of map rejigs we’ve grown accustomed to.
With its Fortnite fortunes waning somewhat as of late, the upcoming “Chapter 2” re-invigoration appears a concerted new strategy from Epic Games. Massive in-game changes and the first rebranding since launching in 2017 might be precisely the fresh lick of paint Fortnite desperately needs to counter its recent decline.
A 52% drop in year-on-year in-game sales compared to last year and backlash around the developer’s perceived kowtowing to the most common denominator to attract new players have left Fortnite far from the halcyon days of 2018 when the game pierced into the mainstream as a genuine cultural phenomenon.
As for firm answers, we won’t have to wait long. Season 10 culminates this Sunday with a live event dubbed “The End,” which will usher in Season 11 or, going by the leak, Fortnite: Chapter 2 and all that it entails, whatever that may be.