There came a moment during the opening mission of the latest season of Fortnite that I quietly realised how much I’d grown to love this pop culture calamity of a game. It’s the kind of moment that requires a quick catch up so allow me to be as brief as possible – a fission in the fabric of reality has allowed a secret agent himbo to collect an Avengers-esque team of pop icons who will, in theory, attempt to fix it and stop reality from falling apart. It’s called the Zero Point and it’s a whole thing.
As Fortnite season six kicks off with a frankly gorgeous bit of storytelling, the Zero Point is on the verge of total collapse. After an implosion, it begins to send ripple waves of reality across the island and your player character (for me it was a customised superhero skin, for you, it could have been a pancake man) must venture forward and seal emerging cracks in the universe.
And here, after being transformed by these ripples into various new skins you can acquire in-game, I was made into a retro-style Lara Croft who stood upon a hillside as the sky was lit up by a neon lotus and I just kinda…got it. It was absurd, it was beautiful, it was uniquely Fortnite. Now with Season Six ushering in a new phase for the hugely popular shooter, we take a look at what’s on offer and why you should be keen.
In an inspired bit of theming, Fortnite Season Six is introducing a glut of new mechanics gussied up with the stripped-back aesthetics of a primitive age. Weapons have been thoroughly retooled to allow for rustic skins and an adaptive upgrade system. You can now collect scrap materials from hunting and gathering to upgrade your weapons or transform them into unique variants from the inventory screen. You can also track down NPCs across the island to either purchase scrap from or outright upgrade your weapons through.
Speaking of NPCs, take a shot at one and you’ll notice they have fully-fledged health bars now. It’s a small change but one that gives these combat interactions a “gamified” feel, especially now that you can hunt various animals on the island. Wolves, hogs and chickens, oh my. These roaming gangs of furry creatures aren’t overly menacing but do provide a sense of life that Fortnite is occasionally lacking. The island feels awash with a new sense of place and it’s all thanks to the updated theme.
Simply titled “Primal”, the new theme has had an impressive reach across the island with massive shifts to existing locations and the landscape itself. Gone are the massive sandpits that clogged up large swaths of the map in Season Five, instead players are now drawn toward a mystical spire that sits amongst a sprawling Autumn forest. I’m a sucker for the colours of Fall and the vibrant reds and earthy tones of the very nature-inspired theme work in Primal is giving me everything I didn’t know I wanted from Fortnite.
Raiding The Battle Pass
While the meat and potatoes of the update have been particularly fulfilling this round, I know a lot of folks are really here for the desert and it is pretty sweet too. The Battle Pass for Season Six is loaded with the usual assortment of aesthetic flexes and most surprisingly, the chance to earn a solid 1,500 V-Bucks. As with previous seasons, you’ll need to battle (a-ha) your way through the levels to unlock these rewards but you can purchase a boost to level 25 from the store page if you’re so inclined.
Highlights from the Pass include three unique Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame skins that represent her iterations through the years, as well as her iconic pickaxes. There is also a reworked Raven skin from the Teen Titans: Rebirth comic series and the looming presence of soccer superstar Neymar Jr. We’ll undoubtedly see more to come as Season Five’s rotation of pop culture icons generated a wild amount of buzz around the game. Granted, I’d trade it all in for another chance at those The Rise of Skywalker skins but I digress.
You can check out the official overview of the season right here.
Hunter and Hunted
Admittedly, I’m terrible at Fortnite. I can shoot just fine but I panic too often, am seldom brave enough to take the chances I need to and I literally can not build to save my life. With that firmly out of the way though, my first few hours with Primal have been a pretty damn good time. No Victory Royales yet but hey, the season is young.
What strikes me most about Primal is how much it changed my relationship with the island. Season Five’s sandy wasteland wasn’t without its charm to be sure but the flashes of neon pink we were teased with back then have finally flourished into their own colourful life in Primal. That initial onboarding mission in which reality is depicted as a blooming lotus (a commonly used symbol in a number of spiritual practices) was surprisingly beautiful and set a neat tone for the new season.
Fortnite seems to have finally nailed its aesthetic, a brightly coloured plastique mishmash of the surreal and the common. It’s an accessible toybox of pop culture iconography and ambitious magical sci-fi – I’m kinda all about it. The island is overrun with Xenomorphs, Aussie Tradies and The Mandalorian(s), all vying for upgrade materials in ramshackle stone villages and pristine shopping malls. It should clash, and it does, but therein lies the charm.
I’m still learning how to best utilise my upgrade tree, where to take that shining orb thingo and, of course, how to put down a basic four-walled structure. That one pack of wolves that startled me out of my hiding spot was a hot mess and the bow is officially my least favourite weapon but it all feels impressively fresh and engaging. Fortnite has no signs of slowing down in popularity but a breath of fresh air might be just what the game needs to win over a whole new player base.