If you are still playing Fortnite then you may have noticed the latest live event. A bunch of rockets destroyed the entire map and the game itself was sucked into a black hole. It made for one hell of a spectacle, a creative way to end the game forever and release our brains back into the real world.
No, the game isn’t gone forever. As many a gaming reporter has reported, this is expected server downtime before the next season is launched along with a map refresh — but don’t call it Season 11, call it Chapter 2.
Fortnite has been a revolutionary gaming property. Aside from opening the Battle Royale door wide enough for every game possible to jam a Battle Royale mode into the room, its continued creativity and engagement of its user base through in-game events have set it apart from its contemporaries. So this black hole that it has set upon us might be a placeholder for a completely new game, or it might be the break we’ve been unwittingly begging Epic Games for.
Our existence is tied to a couple things. It’s tied to our innate and inherent ability to just function in the world, keeping ourselves alive another day. It is also tied to things like purpose and meaning, though those are deeper in the Existentialism well rather than our persistent nature of just living. So in order to continue to exist, we fill our time with things, like Fortnite, that bring us a modicum of entertainment and possibly, hope.
This black hole is closer to our existence than we might think. After ten seasons of Fortnite, no matter how entertaining, it still would eventually have to experience what all of us experience in our daily lives — an existential crisis of being. We can write it off to creativity or a simple map refresh, but the soul of the game is tied to our ability to continue to be entertained by it. And what is more entertaining within the scope of our personal existence than waiting for something to also exist?
Epic Games could have had the next season, or chapter, of Fortnite loaded up on a dev server, ready to be pushed into production the second that the black hole swallowed the map. Instead, it chose to wait a few days. The server is down. There is nothing but a cryptic phrase that references the Zero Point (which may itself reference Zero-point energy, a measurement of energy within quantum mechanics that I don’t understand enough to opine about, but kind of makes sense due to the relationship between the generalized uncertainty principles and black holes).
I know, this all sounds ridiculous, that I’m applying humanistic attributes of existence to a video game. But think about the millions of gamers biting their nails right now waiting for Fortnite to return. Think about them now having to not only remember how to queue for something they really want, but having to fill that time with something else instead. Sure, they might go play PUBG or Call of Duty Mobile, but they will still come back to Fortnite because it’s no longer just some game to dedicated players — it’s both a product and purpose of our existence.
We’re not sure what’s on the other side of the event horizon when it comes to black holes. At this moment, we’re not sure what’s on the other side of the Fortnite black hole. A brand new map? A completely rebuilt game? Just a bunch of weird skins with laser cats? For those of us who play the game, it’s just a matter of time until we find out. Time of course being, existence itself.