I really thought I was going to miss the cube.
With the impending launch of season six of Fortnite, I found myself getting a little bit anxious that one of my favorite parts of the game was going away. Tracking the progress of the mysterious purple cube had become a near-obsession for me, one that really highlighted the best parts of Fortnite’s ever-changing world, and how weird and unexpected it can be. But as the sixth season was set to start, the cube sat quietly at the bottom of Loot Lake.
On one hand, I was right to be worried, since the cube is now a motionless part of the scenery. But it turns out I don’t really miss it at all: there’s so much new in the game I don’t have time.
Fortnite is, at its core, a game where 100 players parachute on to a map, with the goal of being the last person standing. But that’s not what makes it so interesting. Instead, developer Epic Games has taken that simple premise and used it to create an evolving world, one where following the changes on the island is as much fun as winning a match. Recently that has included large-scale events, like the epic rocket launch that created a crack in the sky, or the strange lightning storms that birthed the cube in the first place. Fortnite only has one map, and that makes these constant changes feel all the more significant.
Season six brings with it a lot of changes, both to the island and the actual game. The island, in particular, has a much darker, more sinister tone now. There are spots across the map where the cube had left glowing runes, and they’re now irritated husks, as if some cataclysmic event took place. There’s a very creepy haunted castle sitting at the top of a big mountain, and one of the farms now has a cornfield that’s actually pretty easy to get lost in. And right in the middle of the map is the biggest change of all: a floating island, held aloft over Loot Lake and a twisting vortex.
There are plenty of other changes as well. The cube left behind remnants called “shadow stones,” which briefly turn you into an invisible wraith, capable of “phasing” through solid objects. I’ve only played a few matches so far, but I can already tell these stones are going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see how high-level players make use of them. Even more important is the addition of pets: when you unlock the right battle pass tier, you can now get backpacks that house adorable creatures that accompany you in a match. There’s a chameleon that appears to change color depending on what item you’re using, and a dog that barks based on what’s happening in the game. For solo players like me, it makes the game a bit less lonely.
That’s just all of the stuff I’ve seen over the course of this morning. One of the great things about Fortnite is how Epic loves to fill the island with secrets; over the coming days and weeks there will likely be even more cool things uncovered. I know I’ll be spending much of my time with the game scouring the new locations to see what I can find.
The point is a lot has changed. And these kinds of changes, and the speed at which they occur, make it easy to forget about the things that are no longer there. I used to spend the opening moments of every match analyzing the rift in the sky for any signs of growth, but I quickly dropped that hobby when the cube started rolling through the island’s picturesque green fields. With all of the additions of season six, well, I don’t miss the cube as much as I thought I would. There’s too much to see and do. Right now I’m fascinated by the castle, but by next week, who knows?
And besides, the cube isn’t really gone: what do you think is holding up that floating island?