“There’s maybe some more obvious stuff than people realise”. That was Fortnite Battle Royale Lead Designer Eric Williamson’s response when I asked him if there was anything they’ve put in the new map that players haven’t found yet. So despite it being the most popular game in the world right now, Fortnite has still managed to hide a few secrets under its bushes.
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But what could they be? Well, I think we can rule out a secret stash of epic SCARs and rocket launchers (sorry). It’s more likely that we’re looking for a nod to one of Epic’s previous games or something related to the lore of the world. Eric was understandably cagey about spilling the details and would only offer “Maybe over time people will realise… will have maybe a better understanding of what’s going on,” which is incredibly cryptic, and not super helpful. What followed was me making a series of statements and Eric repeatedly saying “Oh yeah”.
GamesRadar: Have you got things that you know are out there that you know players haven’t found?
Eric Williamson: Oh yeah.
EW: Oh yeah.
GR: More than one?
EW: Oh yeah.
OK, so let’s back up a bit and look into what could be out there. Of course this is going to be speculation at this point but using our understanding of how the game works, and drawing on other examples of similar hunts, we can start to piece some theories together.
References to other games
If you’ve spent any of your time crouched next to a perfectly made bed in Fortnite - seriously do people not sleep on this island - then chances are that you’ve seen the poster of the armour-clad warrior holding a flag. This isn’t just some random design: it’s actually the original art from Unreal Tournament released by Epic in 1999. There’s also a slightly less common poster featuring a tower and a moon, which - again - is a reference to the Facing Worlds map from the game. It’s not out of the question, then, that one of the hidden Easter eggs is a reference to one of Epic’s other games. Gears of War would be the obvious suggestion but Bulletstorm and even Infinity Blade could also be contenders.
A super rare spawn of an item like the Llamas
Version 3.3 introduced the Llamas to Battle Royale. These are super rare piñata’s containing bucketloads of resources and consumables. But there are only ever three per match. Finding one is tricky but if you want a better chance you should check out our Fortnite Battle Royale Llama guide. What this proves, however, is that Epic has the ability to randomly spawn an item into the map. Back when the GTA 5 Chiliad Mystery was in full flow there were suggestions flying around that you’d have to be in a certain location on a certain in-game day to trigger an event. These turned out to be a load of hokum but there’s no doubt that Epic would have noticed the chatter around the mystery and how it kept GTA 5 in people's minds years after release. In Battle Royale this could be as simple as programming an item to only appear in one out of every 100 games, and in a random location, making it almost impossible to find. If this is the case it’s likely that whatever it is came with the new map as well. We’ve already seen aliens on the TV screens, Gnomes in the walls and a very noisy beehive in Tilted Towers (all of which have now been removed) so there’s precedent.
Below: Discover the best way to find a Llama
The island itself is the key
The other option is that the solution is based on the island itself, or in its layout at least. You can already see the bones of something like this forming with weekly challenges. Requirements like ‘Search between a Vehicle Tower, Rock Sculpture and a circle of Hedges’ point players towards a very specific area of the map and then rewards them for visiting it. Could there be some directions scrawled on walls, on trees or inside caves? It’s possible but I’d imagine at least one of the messages would have been found by now if that was the case. The map does reveal things when viewed from different angles though. Take the umbrella in grid location E3 - It took me ages to figure out that’s what it was and it was only until I flew down directly on top of it that it became clear. It’s all about perspective and, honestly, I’m always too busy checking behind me and jumping in and out of bushes to see if that rock edge lines up with that branch to revel a special message.
It could all be smoke and mirrors
I don’t want to believe it but... there’s a chance there isn’t anything that we haven’t found and keeping things vague and cryptic keeps the community talking, generating wilder and wilder theories and, ultimately, playing the game. We also have to consider the possibly that whatever it is isn’t in the game yet and will be added later. The GTA 5 jetpack hunt is a great example of how leaving an unsolvable mystery will keep your community engaged. Or maybe it’s just too hidden. Some secrets were almost never found because they were buried so deep.
But I want to believe and, as everyone's favourite FBI agent once said, “The truth is out there, you just have to know where to look”… I just wish I knew where that was.
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