It looks like Fortnite is finally getting vehicles. Sure, they're not 4x4 trucks, cars or even bicycles. If you logged onto the game this morning, you learned that, in proper Fortnite style, developer Epic Games is adding dinky shopping carts for players to wheel around in.
It's a cute, but controversial inclusion riding on a months-long debate over whether vehicles will make the game more fun or ruin Fortnite forever.
Vehicles are a major part of gameplay in Fortnite's survival shooter predecessor, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. In both games, the playable area shrinks over time, forcing players closer together until there's only one left standing.
The major difference is that in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, the map is huge, and vehicles are often the only way to stay inside the playable zone. They're not just for driving, either. Players run each other over, shoot from the passenger's seat, do crazy flips, and all sorts of stuff with Battlegrounds' vehicles. It adds a whole other level of strategy to the game.
Strictly speaking, Fortnite doesn't need vehicles like Battlegrounds does. It's got one small map that's easily traversible by foot. Getting zoned out is almost always preventable. And since constructing forts is such a huge part of the game, it would likely suck if the game forced players to constantly abandon their forts and travel long distances over short periods of time.
However, just because Fortnite doesn't really need vehicles doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit from them. That's what players have been debating for months. Whenever vehicles have come up on Fortnite's subreddit or Epic Games' Fortnite forums, things have gotten heated.
"It makes sense for them to be in PUBG because of the map size, but in Fortnite it has no merit," wrote one commenter on Epic Games' forums in January. "If you keep an eye on the circle as soon as it forms, you can get to it every time before you get hit by the storm."
And over the next few months, it became clear that map size wasn't the only argument against vehicles in Fortnite. Some players wondered how they'd interact with buildings, since almost everything in Fortnite is destructible.
"The building aspect and the cars just [don't] vibe right together to me," wrote one player on Reddit.
"Cars are cool but then do they do when faced with a wall? Crash? Then what do they do when faced with a ramp? Do they ramp up it and fly off? ... If it goes through wood walls then will it go through wood walls that people didn't build? I feel like there's too much going on there."
Fortnite players already have to juggle many things during a game: surviving in the shrinking playable area, collecting weapons, eliminating enemies, mining materials, building forts. Would adding vehicle stuff be one too many complexities? Others see more possibilities than the haters.
Epic's take on battle royale is random as hell. It's got a boogie bomb, for Christ's sake. Adding vehicles couldn't mess the game up more than, say, rocket launchers, say some fans. In fact, it could just make things more interesting.
"It's so much fun running over people or doing stunts," said another commenter. "We can build stuff in this game, that means ramps to drive up, fort garage combos, etc. That could really bring so many new and exciting experiences to Fortnite. Just imagine a car driving in the sky because you built a road to heaven."
Players have also suggested rollerblades, "clown bouncey shoes," golf carts, dune buggies and bulldozers as potential vehicles for Fortnite. What they got is a shopping cart, which will be added sometime soon.
It's worth remembering that, although the shopping cart would technically be Fortnite's first vehicle, we've seen quite a few vehicle-like items already, if we're defining "vehicle" as any item that greatly enhances a player's ability to move around. Fortnite just got jetpacks last week. Players can ride rockets. Launch pads shoot players into the air. We've seen moon rocks, which boost speed and altitude.
There are already ways for players to get from point A to point B a little faster than usual. And, so far, they haven't made the game any less of what it is: a weird survival shooter that thrives on chaos (well, except for the guided missiles, which were a little OP and were yanked from the game in April).
What makes the shopping cart interesting is that, in all likelihood, it won't be as manoeuvrable or powerful as a car, but will still offer some good mobility. It's an interesting move on Epic's part to introduce something that could satisfy both sides of the vehicles debate, skinned as the sort of ridiculous, stupid shopping cart every kid tried to wheel their friend around in once.
"I cannot wait to push my friends down a hill and watch them light up a squad," wrote one commenter. "'Stupid' items like this give me flashbacks of older games I love where even if it wasn't the most optimal thing to do ... the fun times made up for it."