Update - April 29, 1pm EST: Surprise! Party Royale mode is actually out now. Countless players have confirmed that they can access the mode, and Twitter user ITalkFortnite (opens in new tab) has been sharing some handy screenshots and details.
Party Royale is indeed a dedicated social space for Fortnite hangouts, complete with challenges and areas to explore. You can also queue for Battle Royale matches from within Party Royale lobbies, so they may become the new pre-game hotspot.
From what I gathered, Party Royale is literally just a place to chill out and do things with others. Theres challenges you can do, there's areas to explore, it's really cool! pic.twitter.com/Px6FTo5IIoApril 29, 2020
Fortnite is getting a new mode called Party Royale which turns the game into a peaceful social space where you can hang out with your friends.
Epic Games confirmed the impending release of Party Royale in a statement to Polygon (opens in new tab) after several Fortnite data miners found files seemingly related to the mode. In particular, Twitter user and known data miner Lucas7yoshi found what appears to be an all-new map which will be used for Party Royale lobbies.
think this is the party royale pic.twitter.com/GXVM8PAkwzApril 29, 2020
"Party Royale is a new experimental and evolving space. Leave your weapons and mats behind," Epic told Polygon. The studio didn't offer any other details, nor did it specify when Party Royale mode will actually be released. That said, big Fortnite events usually land on Thursdays, and with so many files floating around in data mine land, it's possible we'll see Party Royale as early as tomorrow, Thursday, April 30.
In the meantime, there's plenty of room for speculation about the mode's nature and purpose. With the recent virtual Travis Scott concert (opens in new tab), Fortnite proved once again that it can serve as an event platform as well as a gathering space. With Party Royale mode, it sounds like Epic is doubling down on that functionality while simultaneously giving Fortnite players a way to dink around in minigames with their friends if they fancy a break from all the competitive building and shooting. It'll be interesting to see how Epic puts it to use, and how quickly players take to it. We should know more soon enough.
Data mined Fortnite posters may also hint (opens in new tab) at what's coming next season.