One of the biggest games in the world has been unplayable since this afternoon. Ahead of its next season — or possible a completely new chapter — Fortnite has gone down in just about every way imaginable. It’s widely believed that when the game is back up and running it will be a rebooted version featuring a brand new map.
Things happened in dramatic fashion. Everything started when the meteor, which had been static in the middle of the island since its appearance at the beginning of season X, started to act up, eventually obliterating the entire map at around 2:00PM EST. Since then, players haven’t been able to do little more than stare at a black hole. There have been flickers of activity, but not a whole lot has happened during that window. (If you enter the Konami code, you’re at least able to play a simple Space Invaders-style mini-game while waiting.)
Those who weren’t able to log into the game in time for the event not only found it impossible to get into a game; the actual lobby and character screens were similarly pulled into the black hole. At one point the official Fortnite Twitter account even deleted all of its tweets, and Epic’s public Trello board, which was used to track in-game issues, similarly went dark. Meanwhile, PlayStation had to issue a statement confirming that the game and all of those V-bucks you spent weren’t gone for good.
It appears to be extended downtime, but one that’s connected to the ever-changing Fortnite lore. The in-game event is currently being watched by millions across platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Twitter.
Rumors of a new map have persisted for some time, though it was unclear just how big of a change Epic would actually make. Prior to today’s event a new storyline kicked off centered on seven travelers messing with the timeline; there were in-game missions that included collecting audiologs to learn more. (You can read them all right here.) Fortnite’s in-game store even featured new emotes to either welcome the visitors or tell them to go home. On Friday, Epic tweeted out the cryptic phrase “the end is near.” Today that was followed by “this is the end.