In these days of rampant data mining, few things are ever truly surprises. Even Fortnite’s seemingly endless parade of (often literal) bashes isn’t immune, with big moments such as the Tilted-Towers-levelling Vault event getting spoiled before players could experience them firsthand.
This weekend, though, longtime leakers — people with the word “leak” front and centre in their handles — have decided to try a different approach: No leaks.
For people who’ve made their names off disseminating datamined Fortnite leaks, this might seem counterintuitive. But across Twitter, big-name leakers have said they won’t be inundating the internet in details of this weekend’s event, which will likely focus on a battle between a giant Voltron-arse mech and a sea monster.
“Me and some other leakers have talked and came to a conclusion we won’t leak the event one or two hours before the event starts,” FortTory — Fortnite Leaks & News, a leaker with nearly Twitter 100,000 followers, said yesterday on Twitter. “Let’s just keep it a surprise. Hereby I call up all the leakers, keep it for once a surprise and enjoy the event!”
In an email, FortTory told Kotaku that this event is different than many that came before, with developer Epic’s encryption functioning such that the event will still be leakable, but not until shortly before it goes live. At that point, goes the rationale, why leak it at all?
“Many people tell me: ‘You’re a leaker, you are supposed to leak everything when you can,’” FortTory said. “But this is the first time Epic Games almost fully has encrypted an event and keeps it all a big surprise. Let’s keep it a surprise.
“After I thought of the idea of not leaking the event, I contacted other leakers such as Lucas7yoshi, Hypex and many more, and asked them what they thought about the idea. And they all agreed.”
The process underlying these leaks is complicated, requiring actions on Epic’s part before data is accessible to interested parties. FortTory explained how it all works, using the robot that’s been constructed in stages ahead of this event as an example.
“The robot stages were all encrypted in different pak files,” they said. “To take a look in these files, we need a key, an AES Key, and these keys got released around one or two hours before a stage came into the game, because Fortnite had to load these parts.
“The event is also encrypted, and Epic also has to load the event before it will happen, which causes the release of the AES Key, which we need to look in the files. We aren’t 100 per cent sure if it will be one or two hours before the event. It could also be 30 minutes before, just like with the Marshmello event.”
A smaller leaker, XTigerHyperX, told Kotaku that it isn’t just about keeping regular players’ imaginations unsullied; they, too, want to go in (mostly) blind this time.
“Me and a lot of leakers [have] been talking about the event, and we actually wanted to see how it feels like when we watch the event without knowing anything about it and let everyone enjoy this experience without getting the event spoiled for anyone,” XTigerHyperX said in a Twitter DM.
XTigerHyperX also pointed to what they see as the downside of event leaks, using the Vault event leak as an example. “It ruins everything,” they said. “People start watching the event, and they are not excited — like nothing is happening.”
Leakers didn’t arrive at this conclusion without friction. When some first started talking about the Great Leak Prohibition of 2019 yesterday, others were miffed.
“I mean, where was I on this?” asked TSG, a smaller Fortnite leaker, on Twitter. “I was never told nor asked about this... My point with this is that people follow us for leaks. If they don’t want to see it, then don’t follow us is my stance.”
After pushback from others, however, TSG eventually came around and said they won’t be leaking the event, either.
There are, however, numerous Fortnite leakers, so not everybody is on the same page. The leakers who’ve temporarily sworn off leaking all agree that somebody’s bound to poke holes in this event’s hull, too.
Anti-leak leakers have suggested that these pro-leak leakers avoid putting spoilers in thumbnails or include a keyword with their tweets — something like “eventspoiler” — so people can mute them if they want.
This isn’t the end for the time-honoured art of Fortnite leaking, of course. Even many of the folks who refuse to spoil this event are still doing drip-feeds of info on new cosmetics and other less-earthshaking additions.
As for what’ll happen when future events roll around — or emerge from the sea and punch the crap out of each other, as it were — that’s still up in the air.
“We are not sure yet,” said XTigerHyperX. “Let’s see how this affects the game. Then we will decide if we are going to leak the future events or not. Or maybe we will just leak only a few simple files for creating more hype without spoiling the event.”
“We don’t know what the future will give us, but this event is the big ending of a season 9, and it would be a shame to spoil it and kinda ruin it so close to the event,” said FortTory. “If we in the future would get a similar situation, I would do the same. It’s time to respect the work Epic Games puts into these big live events and not spoil it.”