In ‘Fortnite,’ a volcano erupted and a whole city was wiped out

Yet another new era for Fortnite has begun.

A weeks-long, community-wide scavenger hunt concluded on Saturday at roughly 3:00 p.m. ET with a giant bang. The smoking volcano situated in the northeast corner of the map erupted, and flying debris laid waste to a number of popular locations, including the city of Tilted Towers and the Retail Row shopping district.

Before the volcano rained down its destructive fire, players gathered around Loot Lake for a different event: the metal plate at the bottom of the former body of water slid open and whisked players off to another realm, a realm where Fortnite‘s banished guns apparently live out their afterlife.

The whole episode was only the latest in a long string of in-game events that have come to define both the existence and the popularity of Fortnite. This is a game that transforms on an almost monthly basis, a game that is just as at home trotting out a limited-time Avengers tie-in as it is staging an in-game concert with no competitive element whatsoever.

Players that descended into Loot Lake’s vault found themselves inside an enormous, largely empty room ringed by pillars. At the top of each pillar, a glass enclosure containing one of the many weapons that have been removed from the game over time, for any number of reasons (usually relating to competitive balance).

The pillars turned out to be a voting mechanism. Players inside the vault could use their pickaxe to hack away at the pillar of their choice. Breaking one entirely required a group effort, and the first one to be struck down effectively decided which old weapon would return to Fortnite.

The Drum Gun won. It’s basically a Tommy Gun, and it was removed from the game — or “vaulted,” to use the official terminology — in Sept. 2018. 

Once the “vote” concluded, players were deposited back into the game world and the volcano did its eruption thing. That map-transforming event sets up the end of Fortnite‘s Season 8, which began at the end of February, and lays the groundwork for the start of Season 9.

There was just one small wrinkle. As important and significant as the in-game event was, not all players got to experience it for themselves.

Fortnite developer Epic Games confirmed as much. It’s not clear exactly what happened, but enough players were apparently impacted by the issue for the studio to deliver a make-good gift for everyone who tried to participate.

And that’s another game-changing Fortnite event in the books. Stay tuned for the inevitable parade of teases as Epic eases us all into Season 9.

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