Fortnite’s new season adds chrome-powered abilities and Gwen from ‘Into the Spider-Verse’

With fall quickly approaching, Fortnite is ready to say goodbye to its summer-themed “Vibin” season. Dubbed Paradise, season four of chapter three introduces one of the most significant gameplay tweaks to the game since Epic made the Zero Build mode a permanent part of Fortnite’s rotation in March.

A new substance called Chrome is taking over the island, and you can use it to your advantage to gain a jump on other players. You can throw Chrome vials on walls to pass through them and at your feet to turn yourself into a blob that is faster and immune to fire and fall damage. As a Chrome blob, you also gain the ability to air dash, allowing you to close distance on your enemies quickly.

Chrome has changed the island too. You’ll find a new point of interest called the Herald’s Sanctum by the abandoned Sanctuary. Other locations, such as Condo Canyon, now float in the air as they try to find safety from the substance. Smaller gameplay tweaks include a buff to sniper rifles. Oh, and sliding into other players will now knock them back.

Of course, a new season also means a new battle pass, and this one comes with no shortage of cool skins. The obvious highlight is Spider-Gwen, but there’s also a nifty skater cat and what looks like a bear within a werewolf costume for players to unlock. Season four is available to play starting today.

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Fortnite’s dreaded BRUTE is back, but with a very important change

In August 2019, Epic Games added a new “weapon” to its hit battle royale game Fortnite called the B.R.U.T.E, a mech suit that could carry two players and cause utter destruction to anything in its path. Though Epic said it had added the mech suit to help inexperienced players get some wins, the weapon/vehicle quickly proved controversial among players.

In an announcement on November 16, Epic revealed some changes that arrived with Fortnite 18.40, not the least of which is the return of B.R.U.T.E., news that not everyone was happy to hear. The item was brought back as part of the “War Effort” part of this season’s storyline, meaning it’ll be used to battle the monsters next month when the finale arrives.

The newly unvaulted item isn’t exactly the same as the one that first arrived in the game in 2019. Epic calls this version the Salvaged B.R.U.T.E., one that was apparently cobbled back together from leftover parts by the island fighters as they prepare for The Convergence.

The Salvaged B.R.U.T.E. lacks the over shield found on the original version, plus the armor has been reduced, meaning it’ll be much easier for players to take down these giant mech suits. This should address the controversy that surrounded the item the first time it was available in the game.

Rather than enabling players to easily decimate opponents, Epic says the Salvaged B.R.U.T.E. is now designed to effectively take down hordes of Cube Monsters. Salvaged B.R.U.T.E Stations need to be fully funded with gold bars; players can start donating them now. As a side note, Epic has also added the Shopping Cart “vehicle” back into the game.

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Fortnite’s next Star Wars crossover brings Boba Fett to the island

Epic Games has announced another Fortnite crossover with the Star Wars universe. This time around, the company is adding Boba Fett to the battle royale island, a new offering made to promote the Disney+ streaming service. Disney plans to new Star Wars spin-off original show The Book of Boba Fett in late December.

The Book of Boba Fett is a series for Disney+ that’ll expand the Star Wars universe, joining other originals like The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show. The new Fortnite Boba Fett crossover, which brings the character to the battle royale game, appears to be a promotion for the show’s launch.

Disney+ will premiere its The Book of Boba Fett series on December 29, while Epic’s Fortnite Boba Fett outfit will be available to players starting on December 24. Epic hasn’t provided any additional details on this planned launch, however, including how long it will be in the game’s Item Shop and how much it will cost.

This isn’t the first time the Star Wars universe has collided with Epic’s hit battle royale game, though we’re yet to get anything as big as the December 2019 – January 2020 Star Wars event. During that time, Epic made multiple Star Wars skins available in the game, as well as lightsabers and other items from the science fiction universe.

Smaller character-based crossovers have become a common sight in Fortnite, as well as other tie-in promotions for then-upcoming movies, games, TV shows, and more. Epic has added skins, buildings, and more from universes like Marvel, Stranger Things, Batman, and even subtle elements like red balloons to promote the movie IT.

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Fortnite’s Ariana Grande Concert Brought Me Back to Reality

I wanted to start this piece with a little optimism. I wanted to wax about how excited I was to go to my first in-person event since the lockdowns started last year — to be in a crowd again, to be surrounded by colleagues eating delicious snacks and talking about video games together face-to-face. I bought my first train ticket in nearly two years and headed out to New York City to attend a concert … sort of. I was on my way to see the Fortnite Rift Tour, a digital Ariana Grande concert that takes place entirely within the battle royale game.

I don’t need to tell you that things are not back to “normal” yet. Despite what we may think or want to believe. I can’t and won’t say that things are better or if things are going to be worse, all I know is that life is still different. This was very clear to me when I walked into the venue that Epic Games booked for its Fortnite Rift Tour press event. The venue had tall ceilings, loud echoey walls, and wide-open spaces meant to be filled with art, music, food, and about 200 people. There was art and food there, and music too, of course. However, besides the crew that worked tirelessly to get this event off the ground, there were only six members of the press there, myself included.

This was of course done with safety in mind. While New York City has relaxed its lockdown regulations, Epic Games wanted to err on the side of caution. After talking to some folks at the event, I learned that this experience was indeed meant to fill this entire venue. It was only a couple of days before it happened that Epic decided to switch it to be a more socially distant experience.

We sat down, at least one empty desk between us as a buffer, put on our headphones, and entered into the Fortnite Metaverse. During this event, I experienced more than mind-bending music and flair; I was reminded how important the human spirit is in times of adversity.

Into the Metaverse

At the top of the event, I got to deck my Fortnite character out in various bling, including the new Ariana Grande outfit. I chose a knight, as someone else already picked her outfit. Something about Ariana Grande performing in Fortnite to a crowd of Ariana Grandes felt off to me so I am glad we avoided that existential conundrum.

In a few brief moments, the digital stage exploded out from under me, and out came Ariana Grande — larger than God and twice as shiny. As soon as I fell off the floating stage, I landed on a liquid slide filled with multicolored paint. At that moment, I realized that this would be nothing like Fortnite’s Travis Scott experience that made waves last spring right at the beginning of the U.S. lockdowns. This was something completely unique. Instead of just watching a performance in a video game space, we were going on an epic journey with Ariana Grande guiding us through like Charon with butterfly wings.

A giant Ariane Grande walking with a giant hammer

While the digital Ariana Grande belted out songs, we raced down the technicolor dream coat slide, collecting speed boosts and gold items that would morph the colors. Without warning, the landscape completely changed. We were transported to a windswept forest filled with pink trees that were incredibly easy to bounce on. Soon after, we found ourselves floating aimlessly in large, iridescent bubbles. Next, we were racing each other again in what can only be described as a non-euclidean Mount Olympus.

Ariana Grande is the fourth-dimensional deity of the Metaverse and we are her patrons.

I was never alone during my experience. I was surrounded by Fishstick and Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty. We danced together and tried to jump up and down to the beat. As I was on the tail of a biplane with Rick shooting a giant demon and its dancing minions, I couldn’t help but be aware that the only reason why I was at this event was that my editor had to travel to Connecticut to attend an in-person concert featuring Limp Bizkit.

I doubt Fred Durst had a giant demon at his show. (Editor’s note: he didn’t.)

The rainbow connection

I soon found myself in a void. Nothing but darkness surrounded me as my knight laid prone on the ground. Suddenly, a hand stretched out and picked me up. My screen filled up with characters, both prone and standing. The game encouraged me to revive a fallen character, similar to how you would in a normal squad match.

With that one moment, it all clicked for me: Underneath the vibrant flamboyance of the event, there was the core of something human that resonated with me. Reaching out to another person, digital or otherwise, is all we can do right now. No matter what the world looks like, we all need to find a way to make that human connection again.

I think I subconsciously knew that throughout the entire concert. While jumping up and down in the rose-colored woodlands, I instinctively sought out other players. During the slide experience, for example, I stuck with the pack instead of trying to outpace them. I wanted to have a shared experience with the people around me. It didn’t matter that we were inside the Metaverse, separated by large metal barriers; we were still together despite all of it.

That made me think of the event itself and its decision to go on even with its limited capacity. We have to endure. People need to find ways to still reach out to each other. Sure, it’s more difficult and confusing than it has been, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find creative ways to fill those gaps.

No matter what the world looks like, we all need to find a way to make that human connection again.

Many people will question whether the Fortnite Rift Tour will compete with live in-person concerts and I think that’s the wrong question. The Rift Tour does not threaten live concerts in the same way that music videos do not. This is an entirely new platform for artists to experiment and play with. It’s just a modern tool that gives us new ways to reach out to each other again.

The concert itself was only about 20 minutes long. We all stood up and talked to each other about the experience we all shared. Seeing people smile as they talked about Ariana Grande smashing the stage with a giant hammer was a treat to witness again. A couple of minutes later, we were asked to wrap it up so the crew can sanitize and prepare the space for the next group of six.

Just like that, the experience was over. The giant demon was gone and all of the iridescent bubbles popped. The music died out and was taken over by the sounds of disinfectants being scrubbed on surfaces and the scraping of moving desks. We left Ariana Grande’s domain and we are back in the real world with all the baggage that comes with it. All I had left were the memories and the connections I made, despite everything around me.

Editors’ Choice

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Fortnite’s Ariana Grande Rift Tour concert included mini games and XP

Epic’s big Fortnite Rift Tour event featuring a virtual version of musical artist Ariana Grande has just wrapped up, giving players their most immersive digital concert experience thus far. During the live event, players were sucked into a rift and introduced to fantastical new interactive worlds, including one full of bouncy buttons and what seemed to be flowing pink hair.

The Rift Tour was exactly what the name suggested: a tour through the ‘rift’ and into a dimensional wonderland that alternated between players participating in mini-games and activities and following Ariana Grande as her massive virtual counterpart walked up steps and danced in the sky.

A few of the artist’s most popular songs were played during this event, each set to different backdrops including outer space, a very pink beach-like scene, a rift-filled interdimensional space with low gravity, and more. Players were able to jump, perform tricks like front flips that aren’t ordinarily available, and more.

Unlike some past concerts in the game, the Rift Tour was an interactive event; players were placed on a psychedelic wave of multi-color goo where they surfed at high speed, collecting speed boosts and treasure chests. As well, players were able to fight the Storm King from an airplane and, finally, ride around llamas, collecting XP from rainbow rings.

Though this wasn’t the first concert presented in Fortnite, it was perhaps the most ambitious, giving players a multi-sensory experience that was both passive and interactive at varying times. Questions remain over whether or how this event may tie into the wider storyline for this season, but it seems likely this was simply a break from the fighting for some entertainment.

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Fortnite’s latest update fixed the game’s annoying alien parasite problem

The Fortnite universe has been overtaken by aliens, though they’re mostly hanging around in UFOs to abduct people. With the aliens’ arrival came one particularly annoying addition to the game: alien parasites, which are exactly what they sound like. While the parasites add a fantastical quality to the story, they’re also incredibly annoying for players.

If you’ve been playing Fortnite over the last few weeks, you’ve likely encountered the alien parasites. These creatures float around, their eyes boggling at the top of long stems, teeth jutting from their abnormally large mouths.

The parasites spawn from green eggs found in various places on the battle royale island; sometimes you’ll come across a parasite that has already attached itself to an animal. When you’re infected, the alien bites your character’s head, granting you the ability to jump in low gravity but at the cost of considerable amounts of health.

Many players have complained that the amount of health taken by the parasite is too much in contrast to the benefit it offers (the ability to jump higher). Epic has apparently heard these complaints and made an adjustment related to them in the game’s latest patch.

Going forward, Epic says alien parasites will be easier to avoid as they will move slower. If one does manage to catch you (or if you get deliberately infected), the parasite will siphon less of your health, ultimately improving the cost-versus-benefits ratio.

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Fortnite’s next big update will bring Preferred Item Slots for auto-sorting

On Friday, Epic revealed an upcoming feature through one of its less popular Twitter accounts: Preferred Item Slots. With this new feature, players will no longer have to manually change the location of items in their inventory by instead setting their preferences ahead of time and letting the game automatically sort the items when they’re picked up.

Though players can currently set Fortnite to automatically sort any consumables they pick up to the right end of their inventory, weapons and other items are placed in whatever empty backpack slot is available. This will change — if the player wants — with the addition of Preferred Item Slots.

The new setting will be turned on by default for everyone once the next game update arrives. With this, the game will automatically sort different weapon types into specific slots. Epic reveals the order for this auto-sorting as assault rifles, shotguns, SMGs, non-firearm items, and consumables.

However, the company says players will be able to choose which weapons are placed in each slot in order to match their typical loadout. If you usually have the shotgun in the first slot, for example, Preferred Items Slots will automatically put any shotguns you pick up in the game in the first slot.

Though this is a relatively small change in the grand scheme of things, it’s a big deal for players who have developed the muscle memory for items being in specific slots. Rather than having to pause to open your inventory and manually change item locations, the weapons you prefer will always be exactly where you expect them.

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Fortnite’s weird inflatable cow disguise is all about aliens

Last month, a big Fortnite leak revealed the existence of a still-unannounced disguise called Inflate-A-Bull. As its name suggests — sort of — the disguise is an inflatable cow costume that players will allegedly be able to deploy whenever they’d like, enabling them to bounce off the ground. Epic has finally teased the existence of that consumable.

The leak surfaced on Twitter late last month; according to data-miner iFireMonkey, the item will be a whole-body suit that, when deployed, will rapidly inflate to surround the player with a cow suit. You allegedly won’t be able to use your firearms while wearing the suit and, as you’d expect, other players can ruin the fun by popping your inflatable cow.

Epic still hasn’t announced this consumable item, but it has just released a tweet that hints at its existence. As part of its “HotSaucerLeaks” series, the company said, “Cows…why is it always cows with these Aliens?” The tweet didn’t include an image or any other details, but given the complete lack of cows in the game, it’s hard to imagine it refers to something other than the Inflate-A-Bull.

The tweet indicates that the cow costume may arrive as some sort of utility against the invading aliens — perhaps it is meant to be an actual disguise to hide from alien troops or, given UFO lore, perhaps it is a way for humans to trick aliens into abducting them into their ships. Epic isn’t saying either way.

Regardless — and assuming the tweet does indeed refer to the leaked item — it seems likely we’ll now get Inflate-A-Bull as an in-game item in the near future. The leaks indicate that players wear it in the place of Back Bling, which may hint at an item you acquire rather than a consumable you find in random spawn, but it’s too early to say for sure.

iFireMonkey agrees with this assessment, claiming that we’ll get access to the unique item on Tuesday. The data-miner also claims players will need to purchase the Inflate-A-Bull from the Rick Sanchez character found at Satellite locations, indicating it will disappear when this season ends.

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PSA: You only have two days left to claim Fortnite’s awesome Spotify perk

In late April, Epic announced that it would offer Fortnite Crew subscribers a free Spotify perk starting with the May bundle. The promotion went live days later as promised, giving subscribers who were new to Spotify the opportunity to access the platform’s premium features for free. Fast-forward several weeks and the promo is nearly over.

The Spotify promotion rolled over into June, meaning that if you signed up for the Fortnite Crew subscription at some point this month, you also have the opportunity to redeem the free three months of Spotify Premium. This only applies to Spotify users who haven’t previously signed up for Premium.

This is a great deal for Fortnite players who regularly play the Battle Royale game and listen to music. The Fortnite Crew subscription is priced at $11.99/month, while Spotify Premium costs $9.99/month. Assuming you only stick with Fortnite Crew for one month, you’ll still ultimately save monthly compared to paying for the three months of Spotify Premium.

While these players have until the end of July to actually redeem the offer, those who want it only have two days left to sign up for Fortnite Crew. The promotion will end on June 30 at 8 PM ET / 5PM PT, after which point the gaming bundle subscription won’t include the Spotify perk.

There is some fine print to the deal, of course, including that you must be located in an eligible country to redeem the offer and your Spotify account can’t have had a Premium subscription at any point in its history. Head over to the Spotify promo page on Epic Games’ website for the full details and instructions on redeeming the perk.

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Fortnite’s weirdest consumable ever has leaked and it involves cows

Fortnite has featured some interesting, bizarre, and outright strange items in the past, but few are as unique and weird as a new consumable item that leaked this weekend. Based on what data-miners have been able to gather, the item is called the “Inflate-a-Bull” because, well, it’s literally an inflatable that looks like a giant balloon bull.

The details come from Fortnite data-miner iFireMonkey, a Twitter account that has a solid history of leaking game details before they’re officially announced. This time around, the account describes Inflate-a-Bull, a suit that, when activated, enables the player to bounce off things, roll down hills, and withstand the damages of fire.

Much like the crash pads, the Inflate-a-Bull is deployed by pressing the “jump” button while airborne, such as when you’ve jumped off a cliff. The suit will inflate around the player, though there will be a time limit on how long it will remain active.

While the suit is active, the leak claims players will be able to bounce around in it, make mooing sounds, and enjoy reduced gravity. Opponents can spoil your fun by popping the suit with a bullet, however, which means deploying it while airborne could be a risky move in heavily populated places.

As with disguising as props or getting in a cardboard box, players won’t be able to use any of their weapons while in cow mode. Perhaps most uniquely, the suit will be worn in the place of back bling — a string is pulled to deploy the inflatable suit, meaning you won’t need to find them in the field.

It’s unclear when the item will be released, but it’ll (allegedly) arrive at some point during Chapter 2 – Season 7.

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