Fortnite – Building hype around a purple cube

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You know the drill by now

As one season of Fortnite ends another is soon to begin and, as is standard, no one knows what the heck is around the corner. ‘Cept that it’ll feature a DJing Llama, a Cowgirl and a Werewolf, obviously.

Season 5 of Fortnite followed The Visitor’s sky opening feat and as most guessed it blended our reality with its. In true Fortnite tradition, this season made very little sense, even more so when a giant purple cube appeared from the sky. A season packed with Vikings, Golf carts (ATKs), mysterious symbols, time-travel and Tomato deities. Yep, it’s still Fortnite.

The Map

Fortnite’s map has changed a lot since the game first released in September of last year but Season 4 introduced one of its biggest changes – Dusty Divot. The crater left by comet changed the geometry of the map and it kick-started many a conversation about Fortnite’s lore. The only problem with such a change was how to make an even bigger one in the Season that followed but Epic managed it by tearing out a corner of the map and replacing it with something else entirely.

It wasn’t just big changes, though. Anarchy Acres, the northmost farm, was replaced by Lazy Links – a new resort complete with a golf course. Season 5 also introduced basketball and golf emotes, allowing you to actually play a game of golf mid-Battle Royale chaos. A Viking ship appeared to the west, just south of Snobby Shores, on top of a mountain, complete with its own snowy biome. This tied in nicely with the first and last skins of the Battle Pass, both suited in Viking attire. But these were pale in comparison to this new southeastern corner.

Moisty Mire and the nearby prison were cast aside in favour of a new desert biome. The new desert area included a named location – Paradise Palms – a racing track, a gas (petrol) station, another small unnamed town, Junk Junction v2 and a number of oases surrounded by towering rocks. There were also giant dinosaur statues dotted around because of course there was. It was strange how different the game felt when landing in this new area. Being surrounded by sand and desert flora made it feel like an entirely new map. But the changes didn’t stop there.

The Rift and The Tomato Head

The rift (nee sky crack) appeared at the tail end of Season 4 after The Visitor’s, assumed failed, missile launch. Since its appearance, many artefacts were appearing both in-game and in our world, like IRL. Two of the most obvious disappearances from the game were the Durr Burger Burger, which appeared in the desert somewhere in America, and the Tomato Town Pizza Place head, which had gone completely awol.

After a few days into Season 5 players noticed that The Rift was decreasing in size and players estimated that it would disappear completely around the 21st August. Nothing of note happened during this period but it did pass a final farewell before eventually closing, never to be seen again.

Midway through Season 5, around the closure of The Rift, an Aztec Temple appeared in place of Tomato Town, the location of the once missing Tomato Head. The newly named location – Tomato Temple – was filled with ruins, symbols and shrines and it didn’t take long to realise what was going here. Based on the Viking ship resting on top of the mountain, we can assume that The Rift did indeed screw up the space-time continuum and this was another result of time screwery.

Once The Rift was created it pulled Tomato Town’s Pizza Place mascot back in time to the Aztec period. It was here that The Aztecs stumbled upon it and began worshipping it as some kind of deity. The large head, atop the temple, complete with a crown fashioned out of wooden cutlery, is perfect evidence for this. Did this affect the game? No. But it was a cool little nod to the goings-on in Fortnite’s world.

The Cube

During The Rifts final moments, things started getting a little erratic. Lightning bolts began shooting from The Rift, striking one of the rocks in the new desert area of the map. As The Rift got smaller, the frequency of lightning got higher and players were quick to discover that it was not a good idea to get struck by it. Spoiler alert: you got flung into the air and made dead on landing. But just as the rift closed, something happened. A large bolt of lightning came down from the sky and continued to strike for a few seconds. Shortly after, the Rift had disappeared, and waiting on the rock was a giant cube.

The Cube did very little other than sitting there, omitting an ominous sound. Epic loves the ominous sounds. If you shot it, it would knock you back but other than that it was largely dormant. Shortly after its appearance, however, it was fed up with its post and decided to move. How does a cube of this size move? By rolling on its side, of course. The Cube quite obviously enjoyed its short journey because it then decided to carry on its movement, eventually doing a small lap of the map over a number of weeks. One memorable journey took it through Tilted Towers where it rolled through a building that had just been rebuilt after the damage caused by the comet. The building firm must be furious!

Once The Cube was in full swing it was also leaving pockets of energy in its path. This energy altered gravity in a similar way to the Hop Rocks of Season 4 did and opened up for some interesting combat scenarios should you wind up inside one. It was also burning purple symbols in the ground, each of which was at the centre of these energy pockets. The Cube’s presence was still completely unknown and the symbols made very little sense.

One thing that was known, however, was where The Cube was going to end up. A player managed to uncover system files which alluded to Loot Lake being The Cube’s final destination. This also gave credence to theories of a Loot Lake map evolution which were bandied around during this season. The most popular being a Volcano and the conversion of Loot Lake to Lava Lake. This in itself was backed up by materials found in-game that had lava properties. Of course, Loot Lake being The Cube’s last stop was speculation. At least until it rolled into it during the weekend.

This again was something that could be witnessed first-hand should you have been playing the game at the time. Once The Cube rolled into Loot Lake it began to melt, corrupting the surrounding water. The melting of The Cube lasted 30 or so seconds and once it had disappeared the entirety of Loot Lake turned purple. Purple and bouncy.

The Alternate Future

With The Cube gone and Loot Lake purple there wasn’t much else left to do but to sit and wait for Season 6 to roll around. However, players still think The Cube plays a larger role in Season 6.

As with Season 5, the 6th Season had unlockable loading screens and they too told a story. The story this time around focused on the main character from the trailer, the graffiti artist who got pulled from our reality into Fortnite’s. The first half of Season 6 showed this character and his chums playing around in the various new map locations. It was all fun and games. Until The Cube appeared, introducing a new character – The Enforcer.

The Enforcers appeared in droves, as depicted in the loading screen, and it was assumed that they were bad. They looked like pesky criminals going about ill business in the game’s Motel area but this was up for debate for some players. The description for the skin was “Balance and order must be restored” which leads some players to believe that they are in fact here to sort out the terrible mess with the whole breaking of the space-time continuum thing. They could ultimately be space police here to make things right again. They could be here to thwart The Cube and what it brings.

The final loading screen showed Bright Bomber, a well-known character skin, looking into The Cube. Although it wasn’t Bright Bomber looking back at her. Instead, there was a dark, alternative, version of Bright Bomber in The Cube’s reflection. This is leading many to believe that The Cube is actually a portal to another dimension, possibly a dark variant on the one we know. The Dark Bomber certainly looked sinister and had a distinctly corrupt air about her. But if that was the case it could mean that Dark Loot Lake is, in fact, a portal to this new realm. Will we be shifting dimensions in Season 6? I dunno, but you’ll find out tomorrow.

The End (of Days)

With Season 5 now drawing its final breath, we’ve not got long to wait and see how Season 6 plays out. But one thing is for certain, Season 5 has opened up a world of possibilities with shifts in space and time so there’s literally no limit to where it could be heading next. And there’s one theory left to be explored. Ragnarök.

The final skin of Season 5’s Battle Pass was called Ragnarök and as you may be aware this is essentially the Norse version of the apocalypse. Ragnarök sees many of the gods and the world they inhabit destroyed, ready to be born anew. Could the naming of this character actually be a not so subtle hint about Season 6 wiping the slate clean and starting a new World? It’d be a ballsy move, sure, but with the hint at alternate realities, we could possibly see an entire map overhaul. I doubt it, but I do enjoy a grandiose exit.

Web developer by day, game developer by night. Mostly cranky. Mostly.

@KieranMcClung

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