Still making headlines almost a year since it released, Fortnite: Battle Royale is an undeniable whirlwind of a game. Over the course of this year, we’ve had celebrities like Drake dip in, schools supposedly ban some dance moves featured in the game, and millions upon millions of people try their hand at being the last player standing.
This current season, now drawing to a close, began back on the 12th of July. It brought Vikings, inter-dimensional rifts, a map-travelling purple cube, and many more additions that kept the gameplay fresh and fun. But it also introduced a handful of changes that were less than favoured – such as the reintroduction of the reviled guided missile, and the removal of the Drum Gun, a weapon which hardly found its feet before disappearing.
So what do we want from this new season of content?
Well, personally, I’d love to see some changes to areas of the map that are in dire need of a facelift. Take Dusty Divot, for example. It’s been gradually altering since back in Season 4, with the crashing of a meteor, but has now become a literal chasm on the map that doesn’t offer much in terms of exciting gameplay.
Back when it was the hotspot to find gravity-defying hop rocks, it seemed an attractive location to check out. Despite the wide space of nothingness, these consumables altered gameplay enough to be fun. Now, however, this overgrown point of interest offers little more than some material farming and an occasional forest gunfight. It seems that some of the most attractive areas of the island are those filled with varied buildings (Tilted Towers and Snobby Shores, to name a few), and largely flat, natural zones are much more dull. The divot needs to be more exciting. The recent introduction of a restaurant on the northern edge of the valley adds some variety, but there needs to be a bigger overhaul to justify it.
The same can be said for Loot Lake. This mundane locale was altered back on September 18th when the roaming cube dissolved and made it bouncy, but is this enough? I don’t imagine this change will remain for Season 6, so here’s hoping there’s something considerable introduced. Like with how Tomato Town became the decaying Tomato Temple, why couldn’t Loot Lake drain to reveal some kind of forgotten civilisation? Or get covered in concrete and built upon as an extension of the already nightmarish Tilted Towers? There were rumours that a great pyramid sat underneath the water, so theories about its future aren’t entirely unfounded.
Also, weapons. Or, more specifically, there needs to be more that stick around. We’ve had some great new weapons throughout Season 5, and I sincerely hope that this trend continues as we go into Season 6. Most recently, the amazing Suppressed Assault Rifle has finally dethroned the Legendary Scar as one of the best late-game weapons available, which is exactly what we need. In a game that’s changed so much, it’s a shame that players are still relying on the likes of the Scar and Pump Shotgun to achieve victory. If Epic are going to introduce new weapons, they need to make them worthy replacements for the originals. Take the Compact SMG: it’s fun to use, but ultimately doesn’t seem as reliable as the Submachine Gun introduced at the start of this season. Why over saturate if you’re not going to improve?
It’s not only weapons, though. Season 5 also gave us new items to get the upper hand, such as the Rift-To-Go, Grappler, and most recently, the Port-a-Fortress. These are great, but Season 6 should bring items that don’t just circumvent building. The Grappler is an incredibly enjoyable tool, but it offers yet another example of Epic Games catering to the most amateur players who would use it as a substitute for mastering what makes Fortnite so unique: building. The same can be said for the Port-a-Fortress, which just seems like a slap in the face to anybody who was anxious when they introduced the Port-a-Fort all those weeks ago.
Because let’s be honest: Fortnite still has a ways to go when it comes to gunplay, so the building mechanics are what make it an experience worth returning to. If Epic are hellbent on making even those redundant, then they might be shooting themselves in the foot.
The main hope I have for Season 6 is that each weekly update just feels more worthwhile. I have no doubt that map-altering changes take time to develop, but Season 5 ground to a halt in its latter half, when the main developments were that the purple cube rolled around the island. The sudden change of Tomato Town into Tomato Temple was appreciated, but it set a precedent that Epic Games haven’t managed to keep up. If they can do this, and make the core gameplay feel as excellent as it used to, then we may be in for another year of Battle Royale mania.