'Tis the season for giving, and Epic Games are celebrating the festive season with a brand new era of Fortnite: Season 7.
As sad as we are to see the back of the spooky Season 6, the new Christmas-themed Fortnite Season 7 herald the arrival of more ziplins, icebergs, gun-wielding snowmen, and Stormwing planes than they can shake a sugar cane at. Less 'frights and delights', more 'chills and thrills'.
Not to mention a new Minecraft-esque 'Creative Mode' to allow players to properly craft islands of their own...
And it looks like this gift won't be just for Christmas. According to a blog post on the Fortnite website: "The Epic Games team will be taking its own holiday break this winter, so Season 7 will be extended by two weeks and end on February 28." Given the usual breakneck pace of Fortnite updates - and the work that must have gone into launching the new Epic Games Store - that's fine by us.
It's no exaggeration Fortnite Battle Royale has become certified gaming phenomenon. Pitting 100 players against each other on a single map, it melds fun, cartoonish gameplay with a fierce competitive streak, and has attracted millions of players across the globe across all ages and demographics.
When starting up, you're thrown onto an island with no weapons or armor and you must scavenge for supplies and fight for your life to be the last man or squad standing at the end of the game – with the added pressure of a shrinking map that closes in as the match progresses, forcing players into tighter skirmishes.
The game is available for free on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android, with in-game purchases limited to purely cosmetic options. But with Epic Games actively updating the game throughout the year, we're keeping track of all the most important patches and changes to come to the game: read on for all the details.
Fortnite have kicked off Season 7 with a host of new map changes and skins to celebrate the holiday season.
There's a whole new map area called Frosty Flights, with ice mountains, ziplines, and four-person Stormwing planes all adding some pleasing verticality to gameplay. There's also a new 'wrapping' feature to customize the look of in-game weapons and vehicles on-the-go, meaning your skin and you rifle should never have to clash.
Only days after Epic Games pulled its long-running Infinity Blade mobile game series from the iOS App Store, the Season 7 announcement showed off a tie-in Infinity Blade weapon that could be found somewhere around Polar Peak. And it looks... pretty powerful. Given Fortnite players on Xbox have also now got mouse and keyboard support, it's clear we're being given a lot of fun new toys to play with.
Save The World will be wrapping up its current campaign, with a climactic finale against the 'Storm King'. Whether or not you usually bother with the campaign mode, players who defeat the Storm King by January 1 (11.59 EST) will be sent a real-world commemorative pin in the post as a reward.
There's also a scrappy-sounding LTM (limited time mode) called Close Encounters, which only allows shotgun weapons and a lot of shotgun action. It's uncertain wether anything can beat last season's 'Disco Domination' LTM - which requires players to emote their way to victory on a throwback disco dancefloor - for sheer ingenuity, but we're willing to try it out.
Season 6 was a hard act to follow with its spooky atmosphere, invisibility items, and dancing LTMs. But Fortnite never fails to outdo itself.
You can pore through the smaller bullet points and stat changes at Epic’s full patch notes here.
What's coming up in Fortnite?
Fortnite is a game that undergoes frequent updates. Week-by-week you can expect to see patches which either squash bugs or make small changes to gameplay that improve the overall game experience.
Season 7 has barely begun, though with its extended duration (until February 28) and promised updates, we're sure to get a host of fun new content while it lasts - especially in the days around Christmas itself. Maybe some free V-Bucks for anyone playing Christmas morning?
This week, the newly-announced Creative Mode will open to the public, after a brief closed beta with a handful of cherry-picked Fortnite Creators. It looks like it could open up a whole new chapter in Fortnite's history - and possibly even overshadow or replace the still-running Playground Mode , which lets up to four players hone their skills together in a less pressured environment.
Playground Mode relaunched in July with an aim assist feature for new players, increased ammo and supply drops, and the ability to swap teams in game for fluid play - but will it be long for this world?
One thing certainly on the cards is more Limited Time Modes (LTM) like Close Encounters or Steady Storm, which offer new twists on the classic Battle Royale experience for those used to the usual formula.
Epic will also be continuing its recent in-game tournament mode for players minded towards more professionally competitive play. The competitions will run for several days and track the number of points players accrue in the dedicated mode, rewarding the top performers with commemorative 'pins' and the chance to take part in tougher matches – or maybe even take their first steps towards cash-prize matches?
Can I play Fortnite on mobile?
Yes you can! Well, maybe. After months of waiting, Fortnite is finally on both iOS and Android, though you'll need a phone that can actually run the game.
iOS users can download straight from the App Store. As long as you're using iOS 11 on iPhone 6S/SE, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro devices or later you'll be fine. Oh, and you'll need an internet connection, naturally.
Fortnite also hit Android phones this summer, and finally came out of beta in October. You can see the full list of phones – and how to find the Fortnite Installer – on our Fortnite on Android page.
Is it the full game?
It is the full Fortnite game. There are some small differences: it’s not quite as visually impressive as it is on more powerful devices, the controls are touchscreen, and a lot of audio cues have been made visual so you can play comfortably in public without the need for headphones. But you won’t be missing out on any key features.
What's the deal with cross-play?
A sweet deal is what it is. While previously Xbox One and PS4 owners couldn't play the game together, Sony's U-turn on the matter means that now everyone across Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android can all take part in the crossfire.
So if you've got friends that prefer PC, others that prefer console and you're off on holiday with your mobile, that's no reason for the fun to stop.
There's also cross-progression. So, if you're logged into your Fortnite account on mobile and you later log into your console to play there, everything you did on mobile later that day is carried over.
Sounds great, how do I get it?
We have a guide on how to get Fortnite on mobile on TechRadar and we're constantly updating it with the latest rollout news. If your device isn't there yet, keep checking back and one day it probably will be.
What's a Battle Pass?
The Battle Pass is a purchasable item in Fortnite that gives you access to exclusive in-game rewards.
As players complete daily challenges and level up their rank, they earn Battle Stars which can then be used to unlock Tiers in their Battle Pass. Each new Tier you unlock will bring both Free and Premium rewards. The Tiers vary from season to season but in season three you get around 100 items in each Battle Pass which can take anywhere between 75 and 150 hours of play to unlock.
Everyone that has a Battle Pass will get the Free reward they unlock, but only Premium Pass holders will get the Premium reward. Battle Pass Premium can only be purchased with in-game V bucks and not with real money.
You can purchase a Battle Pass for around £7/$10 in the Battle Pass tab of the game’s menu.
Twitch Prime benefits
Those who use Twitch Prime and play Fortnite will be glad to know that they have access to free loot right now. Those with a Prime account can claim the Fortnite Twitch Prime Pack and the Fortnite Twitch Prime Pack 2 which include a host of cosmetic items and are available across all platforms.
The first pack includes two exclusive gliders and outfits: the Havoc Outfit and Back Bling, plus the Sub Commander Outfit and Slipstream Glider. The second pack contains three exclusive items for Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode including the camouflage-heavy Trailblazer Outfit, the True North Back Bling, and the Tenderizer Pickaxe. There’s also a brand new dance emote for those that like the dance floor as much as the battleground.
The packs can only be claimed on a single platform, but they can be shared across PC/console and mobile as long as you use the same Epic account across these platforms. You can’t however, share your loot across PS4 and Xbox One even if you are using the same Epic account.