Look, I don’t want to be the guy who cares way too much about Fortnite‘s overall storyline. But I play this game too much. Every season I do every quest and complete every piece of what passes for a story. Its version of a narrative throughline has never been particularly great, but it’s nice to have a long-term framework so that seasons can flow from one to the next with some kind of obvious logic.
But as I complained about a couple months ago, Chapter 4 took Fortnite’s story all the way off the rails, setting up threads and then following them up with something completely unrelated, in such a way that it seemed like a development calendar got rearranged. Despite that, this past season did seem to directly lead toward Fortnite OG, with the time machine at Frenzy Farm pointed at the start of Chapter 1, Season 5. But now that we’re here, and there’s no meaningful story content to speak of right now outside of some detail-free audio logs that Slone has left for Jones over the course of this season, I still feel confused.
Fortnite has a pretty standard procedure for when a new season drops–the absolute minimum has been to have a gameplay trailer that shows off new guns, gadgets, and mechanics, and a cinematic trailer that shows off the battle pass characters participating in the season’s main story. For Chapter 4 Season 4, that meant showing Fish Thicc, Piper Pace and the rest of the good guy battle pass skins breaking into Kado Thorne’s estate, where we could clearly see Thorn step out of a time machine.
While Fortnite OG got a gameplay trailer showing off its retro map and loot pool, it didn’t get a cinematic trailer. Coupled with the complete lack of plot quests at the moment, OG Season can’t manage the bare minimum for Fortnite storytelling. And I have three potential explanations for why.
The first option: Epic is intentionally de-emphasizing Fortnite’s story. It’s not an outlandish thought–Donald Mustard was the architect of the battle royale storyline, and he left the company this summer. Perhaps his replacement, Charlie Wen, wants to do things differently.
The second option: The lack of story is part of the throwback. They hadn’t really started the plot yet during Chapter 1, Season 5, which is where the current version of the battle royale island is from, and so the lack of story content right now could simply be a nod to that. We didn’t have a story then, and so we don’t have it now. But there’s some good news for this hypothetical: the Fortnite plot kicked in late in Chapter 1, and Fortnite OG will be taking us through that point. So things could change for that reason and in just a matter of weeks.
The third option, and the one I personally believe is true: There was supposed to be a collaboration with an outside IP for this season, like Doctor Who and/or Lego, and it was canceled or delayed until after Fortnite OG. In this scenario, that collab would be baked into the cinematic and the storyline in a way that would be difficult to salvage without it.
Whatever the reason for it, it’s been frustrating to watch the overall Fortnite story basically collapse into nothingness over the course of the past year. During Chapter 4, the plot stopped making sense from season to season, and now we have a season that, so far, doesn’t even have a story at all. Maybe Chapter 5 in December can serve as a fresh start–it might be our only remaining hope at this point.
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