Fortnite All But Confirms Return To Original Chapter 1 Map

Fortnite All But Confirms Return To Original Chapter 1 Map

Fortnite appears to be indulging in a bit of nostalgia. Epic has teased a return to the original Fortnite Chapter 1 map, in hopes of bringing lapsed players back into the fold.

Numerous recent teases ahead of the game’s upcoming Chapter 4, Season 5 update allude to the game bringing back a number of well-loved items and locations from 2017’s Chapter 1. Long-time Fortnite players have begged Epic for years to put the Chapter 1 map back into the game, claiming it was superior to every other map the studio has ever produced. The map, of course, was produced quickly. Epic’s pivot to the battle royale genre, which was blowing up at the time thanks to PUBG, was an attempt at triage. After a lengthy development period, Fortnite had launched with a bit of a thud. Tacking on a free-to-play BR mode seemed like a low-lift way to get some attention and drive players to the actual game, a fort-building horde mode renamed Save The World. The rest, of course, is history.

Leakers and dataminers have been pulling classic assets out of Fortnite updates for weeks ahead of any official announcement. Maps, items, points of interest. It’s only been in the last week that Epic has begun formally teasing the upcoming season.

The most recent tease came on Twitter, and appears to confirm the game’s return to its roots. The post shows an image of the game’s classic Battle Bus model that reads, “Sprint (or Mantle, your choice) back to Chapter 1 …see you soon 11.3.2023.” It’s accompanied by the hashtag FortniteOG.

That Epic makes a point of sprinting and mantling in the post is important — neither mechanic was available in Fortnite until the last year or so. The original map wasn’t built with mechanics like sprinting or mantling in mind. In fact, there have been quite a lot of changes to traversal in Fortnite since that original map was put out to pasture — things like web-swinging and hammer launching didn’t exist back then, only added as Epic retooled the game as a showcase for the capabilities of its Unreal Engine.

This also isn’t the first time Epic has experimented with hauling Chapter 1 items out of storage. In Chapter 3, Epic made a lot of noise about the return of Tilted Towers, a popular point of interest from the 2018 revamp of the Chapter 1 map. Tilted Towers was a city-styled zone full of tall buildings that were themselves full of winding hallways and staircases. Huge numbers of players would drop into Tilted en masse at the start of each round, and only the strong would survive.

It would also be Epic’s latest attempt to revive Fortnite‘s strong but stagnating player base. In recent years, Epic acquiesed to player requests in a bid to bring them back for a while, and it’s worked. The addition of the game’s Zero Build mode in 2022 brought a ton of players back into the fold by excising its famously technical building feature altogether.

The third final wrinkle is the way this move highlights the somewhat disposable nature of the live service model. Once the maps from Chapters 1, 2 and 3 were retired, there was no official way to play them again. The same goes for content from past seasons. Epic brings certain skins and items out of the vault occasionally, usually as a way to make a fast buck, but there’s a lot of older content that simply never sees the light of day again. Bungie also had to reckon with this problem as Destiny 2 aged.

We’ll find out more about FortniteOG in the coming days, I’m sure.

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