Joe Knoop, PCG contributor: Count me among the Fortnite players who loved, loved, loved what they did to vehicles in Fortnite Chapter 2, and hopes they keep it at a similar level for some time. Getting rid of the Baller, the B.R.U.T.E., shopping carts, and even golf carts was a smart way for Fortnite Chapter 2 to refocus itself on the fundamentals of its particular brand of battle royale.
Rather than worry about my flank being attacked by someone in a hurtling glass ball from Jurassic World, I was able to focus on getting those precious sniper kills from afar, and move into the next bit of cover with some level of composure. I’ve seen way too many previous Fortnite games end with a couple Baller drivers swinging around while the less fortunate players duke it out below, and I’m glad Epic saw fit to stop those shenanigans for now.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…CLOSE
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That said, Fortnite’s map is still ridiculously huge, and I wouldn’t mind more options to get around, so long as they don’t throw the game’s balance into the blender. I think Epic will almost definitely add some new vehicles to play with in the new season, but they’ll likely be rolling them out much more slowly.
James Davenport, staff writer: Chapter 1 was a wild time for mobility. Epic tried everything, much to the chagrin of the Fortnite playerbase. I was a big fan of the near game-breaking updates, be it the mech or the Baller’s initial form, but I’ll admit that mobility was too accessible and free and varied for the bulk of the chapter. Getting across the island was a cinch, which made playing the circle trivial. Chapter 2 brought back that classic battle royale tension you mentioned, where playing the far edge of the circle is a risk. Outrunning the storm is a serious concern, and I’d like it to stay that way.
But we can’t go another year without any mobility updates, right? I think we’ll see map-spanning mobility options trickle back in throughout 2020, but they’ll be high risk or high cost options. Like the bandage gun, maybe mobility items take up multiple inventory slots, or the faster vehicles are fewer and located in high-pop arenas. Maybe they’re extremely loud and easy to pick at over long distances—I’m talking glass carriages here. Choosing mobility or holding onto mobility options needs to carry the same tension as playing the edge of the circle. Mobility needs to be a major tactical decision over the course of a match, a dangerous choice rather than the expectation.
Joe: I think you’re right on the money. Vehicles in Fortnite need to be a bigger risk vs. reward equation. If you’re giving me a boat that fires rockets or a glass ball with a Batman grappling hook, I want that thing to control like Roach in The Witcher 3, tripping over squirrels and inexplicably ending up on roofs.
Expect more brand partnerships than ever
Joe: Mild spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker follow, but we’d be fools to not mention an incredibly important plot point that connects the two vastly different brands together.
During Fortnite’s Star Wars event, players were not only treated to a dogfight featuring the Millennium Falcon and J.J. Abrams’ digitized, handsome body, they were also treated to a monologue from Sith lord Palpatine himself. The monologue, speaking of a “day of the Sith” and other such revenge fantasies, was actually a key plot point that kicks off the events of Rise of Skywalker. It’s possible to consider Fortnite part of the Star Wars canon, and because of a promotional event.
However you feel about the movie itself, one thing is clear: Someone at Disney, basically the most powerful media organization in the known galaxy, calculated that this was a worthwhile investment for them, to share this key story beat with not only Fortnite’s core audience (something north of 250 million players) but also all the casual and non-fans who would inevitably end up watching or hearing about it.
James: I have $20 in my pocket, Epic. What kinda brand partnership will that get me?
Joe: So what does this mean for Fortnite? Expect brand partnerships to continue, damn the consequences. Disney has already seen fit to give Fortnite its Marvel blessing twice over. Wreck-It Ralph flashed by at one point. Even Marshmello held a concert in Fortnite. Notably, Epic seems to want to continue investing in “live” events that are broadcast over every server in real-time, rather than the pre-scripted events that mark the ends of each season.
James: Fortnite’s brand partnerships and in-game events are a major reason why kids are still flossing in 2020. Epic can just turn off the game for three days and get a segment on Good Morning America. Epic can call some buds at Disney, make a virtual J.J. Abrams dance in front of a live audience, show a bad clip from a bad movie, and attract so many free v bucks hack viewers that Epic’s login services break across not just Fortnite but their entire client. I’m thinking we’ll see a new branded event or skin promo every single month in 2020. January already saw the official Ninja skin and the Fortnite Icon Series basically guarantees we’ll see more of this stuff.
Joseph: Maybe one day we’ll get entire state governments promising Epic a billion dollars if they do a Fortnite promo for them, like how New York or North Carolina couldn’t stop salivating over Amazon’s plans for a second HQ building. Who will be the first presidential candidate to host a live rally inside Fortnite? Will Bernie Sanders lament how the top tenth of the top 1% own 99% of all the building materials?