Fortnite is back online after developer Epic Games suddenly, and theatrically, took the game offline on Sunday.
The entire stunt, which saw the world of Fortnite and its UI overtaken by a black hole a few days back, aimed to mysteriously introduce the next chapter of the free-to-play battle royale game, and managed to grab no small amount of attention in the process.
Epic Games has long used odd in-game events, some subtle and some more obvious, to contextualize updates and Fortnite’s own plot in the background of gameplay, but the black hole blackout took this concept to the extreme. From Sunday until the early hours of Tuesday morning, logging into the game brought players face to face with a swirling black hole and only a small exit button nestled in the corner of the screen.
As observed in the many, many Fortnite streams that popped up to monitor the event, numbers would periodically appear in the space near the void and added to the mystery but offered no concrete clues to when Fortnite would free itself from the black hole and resume the usual battle royale grind.
Eventually, the black hole gave way to the start of Fortnite Chapter 2, though Kotaku reports that the end of the black hole event was an unceremonious “Fortnite servers are currently undergoing maintenance message” at 4AM ET, followed by a post-update trailer when the game went live hours later.
That new chapter offers a new map, the first Fortnite has seen in its two-year run, and a handful of new mechanics added to spice up the standard last-person-standing showdowns that make up the game's usual loop. Those include lighthearted additions like a new fishing activity, or more competition-geared features like ways to heal and protect squadmates, a new hiding mechanic, and a new XP system to improve on some of the previously tedious aspects of leveling up.