NEW YORK, Oct 15 — Why players are waiting until today — or maybe even Thursday — to find out what happens next.
The tenth season of last-person-standing game Fortnite drew to a dramatic close on October 13 when a black hole swallowed everything, and a series of clues led fans to decipher a coded message.
Just two weeks ago, sci-fi multiplayer shooter Destiny 2 and its predecessor went offline for 24 hours in preparation for its free-to-play switch and big October 1 update, Shadowkeep.
Now Fortnite appears to be doing the same.
Amid rumours of a new island to explore and master, the unannounced downtime of Fortnite has been turned into a spectacular community mystery.
Players that were in-game on October 13 at 2pm Eastern Time saw rockets (or a single rocket, multiplied) fly in and out of various cracks or space-time rifts dotted around the Fortnite sky.
The rockets’ combined activity opened up a new rift, consuming a meteor suspended in mid-air above the island.
That meteor then reappeared further above the Fortnite map and was sent plummeting straight down into a mysterious orb on the island’s surface.
When the orb exploded, it generated a whirlpool effect as a black hole opened up and swallowed up the island.
Not only that, but it sucked in players that had been watching too and, unusually for Fortnite, those waiting in the game’s choose-a-character lobby.
That suggests the Season 10 event’s effects were more far-reaching than before, with community enthusiasts already anticipating a new island and the beginning of Fortnite Chapter 2.
Yet since then, there’s been nothing to see or do. Fortnite has shut down — though not entirely.
Fortnite social media accounts deleted histories and replaced colourful headers with black hole imagery instead, as the Fortnite live stream remained fixated on the black hole’s purple glow.
As a series of numbers popped up on the official stream, eager fans set about unscrambling a secret message, matching them with previous messaging from a cryptic Fortnite character called the Visitor, previously linked to the orb and rocket launch.
The next phase of The End is expected to begin on Thursday at 6AM EST, as code underneath the game’s official website indicates.
However, we might not have to wait that long. Site code had first shown 6AM today as the key time, so Fortnite developer Epic Games might have something else ready for then. — AFP-Relaxnews