The battle royale genre has seen its share of ups and downs in 2018, but one title that was consistently up throughout the year was Epic Games’ Fortnite. One potential reason for the game’s huge fan base and dominance is the amount of support Fortnite gets in the form of frequent content updates and in-game events. And in 2018, the battle royale title saw everything from new standout limited-time modes (LTMs) and some worthy new weapon additions to some unique seasonal events and gameplay changes.
When reflecting back on 2018, which can arguably be defined as the year of Fortnite, it’s hard to say that the game looks the same as it did back in January. Of course, it’s the same hybrid shooter at its heart, but because of several changes, players have had to continuously adapt and improve over the past year.
1. The Addition of 2 New Biomes
Although every season features some type of map change for Fortnite‘s battle island, there have been two major changes that stand out this year. The battle island used to be almost entirely green in some way—that is, until season 5 introduced the desert biome. With it, the popular Paradise Palms location was also created, and the desert backdrop did much to change up the scenery of the game.
Season 7 took it a step further with the introduction of an arctic biome, which features three new named locations, one of which temporarily housed the Infinity Blade. It’s uncertain what will become of this biome when season 7 and winter end, but considering the Ice King’s castle is there, it doesn’t seem likely to be going anywhere soon.
2. The Changes (But Not Destruction) of Tilted Towers
A large amount of hype usually precedes teased map changes, none of which have been teased or theorized as much as the destruction of Tilted Towers. Beginning with the season 3 comets that battered Tilted Towers, it has been a location many have hoped (for one reason or another) would be destroyed. This led to theories that Kevin the Cube would destroy the named location, or even AIM robots as part of the season 7 initiation.
Despite never actually being destroyed, Tilted Towers has seen its fair share of changes, as many who drop in the high-density zone can attest. It was originally added in season 2 but developed a huge crater in season 4 after the season 3 comets. Tilted Towers slowly rebuilt over season 5, resulting in a new sports shop added to the named location—that was, before Kevin the Cube rolled through and destroyed the area once again (1 week after its completion). Season 7 is now working on a new building in the area, but its future is not looking good.
Whether or not Tilted Towers ever becomes something different remains to be seen, but considering its popularity in the battle royale title and its prominent role in the meta, it doesn’t seem very likely.
3. The Move Toward Mobility
When Fortnite first launched, it was a common strategy to build up a fort and bunker down. This strategy directly led to the “Just Build LOL” attitude about the game and even to the backlash when Port-a-Forts were first announced. But slowly, season to season, Fortnite has moved away from this bunker down and fight method to a more mobile battle royale game, thanks to the introduction of mobility items like the grappler and balloons.
Of course, there will always be speed builders, but for those who can’t master that particular strategy, there is another way to come at a fight. It’s not an uncommon sight nowadays to see a speed builder vs. ballooner fight, which is one of the small changes that will go a long way for Fortnite‘s quality of life.
4. The First Game to Get Cross-Play
The popularity of Fortnite was a direct contributor to the cross-play controversy that went down earlier this year. Even though Sony eventually relented and Fortnite would go on to be the first game to get legitimate console cross-play support, this may have never happened if it weren’t for the pressure of the myriad Fortnite fans who wanted to test their skills across consoles.
It’s worth mentioning that this decision was just the first domino, as cross-play support will indubitably change up the gaming industry as a whole. In fact, we named it as one of the biggest video game news stories of 2018.
5. The Hidden Banner/Hidden Battle Star Rotation
When completing a weeks’ worth of challenges, it’s always nice to hunt down a hidden battle star, as they give a free tier on the Battle Pass. In season 5, this meant that there were 10 free tiers earned by just completing challenges. Yet, come season 6 week 2, fans of the battle royale title were greeted with a hidden banner, instead of a hidden battle star. This set up a weekly rotation that continues on, even now in season 7.
Earning a hidden banner is a cool cosmetic addition to the locker, but at the same time, receiving only 5 tiers for all the effort put in is a bit lackluster. Some may disagree with this change, but it was likely made to help balance out the pace by which players complete the Battle Pass (especially for those who complete it early on anyway).
6. The Addition of Vehicles
Back in May, Fortnite added its first vehicle to the game. To some, it was a surprise, but many loved the absurdity that came with a shopping cart being the first vehicle to appear in the game. It was followed by the All-Terrain Kart (ATK), Quadcrusher, and now the X-4 Stormwing, the first aerial vehicle to appear in the game. These have led to crazy kills, new ways to cross the map, and fun ways to play with friends or strangers. With the addition of the plane and the mobility items, some of these vehicles like the shopping cart don’t get much use anymore—unless it’s for a challenge— but that doesn’t make them any less noteworthy.
7. Expanding to the Mobile Market
At the beginning of the year, it was revealed Fortnite Battle Royale was moving on the mobile market, with the iOS version releasing shortly after and the Android version coming out this past summer. This decision has helped ensure the dominance of the game at every level, with the battle royale title being available on practically every platform imaginable. Not to mention, the mobile versions directly contributed to the popularity and profitability of the game, as developer Epic Games has reportedly made $3 billion dollars in 2018.
8. The Sky Cracking
In season 4, a massive community rocket launch saw the sky crack. In this brief moment, everyone stopped to watch and the killing stopped. If that description wasn’t epic enough, this rift in the sky would go on to be involved with several other changes on the Fortnite island, including rifts and the Kevin the Cube event. This, alongside the season 3 meteors, is easily one of the most memorable season transitions of the year.
9. Creative Mode/The Block
Fortnite creative mode, following it the footsteps of the Playground LTM, was a well-received season 7 addition to the game that allows players to design their own islands. Moreover, at the game awards 2018, it was revealed that Risky Reels has been replaced with The Block, a space that would house fan-created locales.
10. The Creation of Leaky Lake
Kevin the Cube appeared halfway through season 5, shot out of the crack in the sky. It moved slowly across the battle island, altering gravity and leaving strange runes in its wake, before eventually landing in Loot Lake.
Many thought this would be the last of the Cube, but the season 6 kicked off with the cube raising the house into the sky, creating the floating island. It slowly toured the island, collecting the previously created runes, before returning to the lake. There, the trans-seasonal cube would finally be destroyed, with a flash of a white screen and some butterflies floating around. All of this led to the creation of Leaky Lake.
Of course, 2018 is ending soon, and season 7 is taking players into 2019. We’re not sure what to expect following this season quite yet, but hopefully, everything continues to do well for Epic Games and Fortnite in the new year. But there is no doubt Fortnite has plans for this very special occasion.
Fortnite is out now in early access for Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.