On April Fool's Day, most game developers like to release a joke announcement or temporary feature designed to get people laughing, as opposed to genuinely excited for something that's not really there. This year, Pokemon GO had 8-bit Pokemon, Rocket League had giant novelty hats, and Creative Assembly announced Total War: Battle Royale. All fun, clearly non-serious jokes.
Not so for Fortnite Battle Royale, which decided the best way to prank its 45 million players was to craft an elaborate hoax involving morse code, meteors, and the rumble feature found within your Xbox One controller and PlayStation 4 Dualshock. Long story short, players were led to believe the game's sole map was set to change in a big way over the weekend, only to find that it was all much ado about nothing.
But but but... in our recent Fortnite Battle Royale interview with the game's Lead Designer Eric Williamson, the possibility of a new map was touched upon, and Williamson's comments should offer some hope to those left disappointed by the April Fools stunt.
GamesRadar: Do you see there ever being another map, or are you quite set on there being this one that you can iterate on?
Williamson: We've discussed it internally. It's probably not a question of if, but certainly a question of when.
Williamson followed up by saying that Epic wasn't currently preparing to bring out anything at the time, but considering the exceptionally speedy and forward-thinking pace that the studio operate at with Battle Royale, maybe the last few weeks since that interview have been all that's needed to begin the countdown clock for island arena number two.
You might already be aware of the continually descending meteor that can be spotted glowing across the skies of Fortnite Battle Royale's single map, which has been getting larger and closer with every passing week. Players have interpreted this as a tease for something big, potentially signalling a huge change to the topography of Fortnite's map.
Then, last week, players on console were experiencing seemingly random controller vibrations whenever they were playing Battle Royale, before some clever Redditor decided to interpret the "glitch" as morse code, and discovered the following message: SOS D 5 418.
We all know SOS as a common distress signal, but those numbers are the coordinates for Tilted Towers, a hugely popular point of interest, followed by the date of April 1, 2018. This discovery was all that was needed to get people anticipating the meteor to strike Tilted Towers on April Fool's Day, but the holiday came and went with nothing to show for it in-game.
It now looks like this was either a hugely coincidental bug, or one big prank from Epic, but the comet remains in the sky and is getting closer with every passing week, meaning its not just a weird glitch or random asset, but a deliberate construction by Epic that is clearly counting down to something.
What do you think about all this April's Fools day business? Are you anticipating a brand new map, or will the meteor have us fighting amongst the ruins of Tilted Towers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and why not tell us your best April Fools day joke while you're there?