As you’re no doubt aware by now, Fortnite is down. At the conclusion of its 10th season yesterday — marked by an event called “The End” — the landscape was sucked into a black hole and everything went dark. It’s been down ever since, with no way to play. As of this writing, 22,000 people are watching the official Fortnite channel stream … well, nothing, on YouTube.
In truth, this is probably just downtime before a major update that will introduce Season 11. That’s nothing new to MMORPG fans, but the way Epic Games has marketed it is brilliant. Sure, they lose out on about a day’s (so far) worth of income, but the media and fan coverage generated by this move has been outstanding. Never before have so many people said so much about literally nothing (unless you count political debates).
There’s an interesting subplot, though, and it involves Fortnite’s PvE cousin, Save the World. It was originally announced as being free-to-play but has simmered in paid early access for the last two years while Battle Royale exploded. It’s gotten to the point that we’ve openly wondered whether it was getting any development love at all, and I thought it wouldn’t hit its free-to-play mark in 2019.
As it turns out, I might be wrong. The paid early access packages — indeed, Save the World in its entirely — have been removed from the Epic Store, which has led some to believe that Save the World will finally be going free-to-play once the lights come back on for Fortnite as a whole. If so, it would represent the end of a long journey — Fortnite began development back in 2011 — and one that we wouldn’t have been surprised to see Epic Games give up on completely, considering the runaway success of the “other” Fortnite. I guess it’s true that weird and unpredictable things do happen in and around black holes.