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Fortnite's latest narrative turn has taken the entire game offline

Epic Games Fortnite is no stranger to environmental storytelling, but the close of the free-to-play game's tenth season takes the narrative tool to the extreme.

Alissa McAloon

October 14, 2019

2 Min Read

Fortnite players have been unable to log into the game since yesterday, but the outage is entirely planned and is instead the latest narrative beat in the long string of not-so-subtle in-game events Epic Games has used to push Fortnite’s strange story along.

Epic has long used environmental storytelling to advance Fortnite’s plot in the background, adding and subtracting locations and items from the game’s singular map to weave a story in the background while players compete in its last-man-standing battles, but this latest push takes the concept to the extreme by having an in-game event take the entire game offline.

Epic ushered in the end of the game’s tenth season on Sunday, but rather than just roll out a new season pass for players to buy, those playing the game at the time watched as a black hole overtook the entire island where Fortnite’s 100-person battle royale matches unfold.

The black hole greeted players that logged on after the fact and devoured their menus, rendering the game unplayable in the process and keeping it that way for more than 24 hours at this point.

Taking the entire game offline is an unexpected way to generate buzz for a title, but its a method that seems to be working out well for Fortnite. 

The stream stats monitoring website GitHyp notes that live streams of the black hole have pushed Fortnite to the top of Twitch, and given the game’s viewership on the platform a much needed shot in the arm. By GitHyp’s count, the event brought Fortnite to 1.6 million concurrent viewers at its peak, breaking the 1.5 million viewer concurrent viewer record set earlier this year.

Fortnite’s social media has likewise gone dark, and currently displays only a live stream of the same black hole that greets players when they attempt to log in to the game, with no news of when the game will be playable again or what new changes a post-black hole Fortnite will bring.

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