Fortnite is an ever-changing, ever-growing beast. Over the course of the last year, everything from movement mechanics to in-game systems has been completely overhauled, and if you compare this Chapter with the last, side by side, they’re barely recognizable as the same game. Fortnite Chapter 4 has been an important one for the blockbuster battle royale game, one that’s highlighted Epic Games’ ability to adapt at lightning-fast speeds, while also showing that even the biggest game in the world isn’t immune from a particularly turbulent year in the games industry.
To properly take stock of where Fortnite is heading, as the game primes players for a whole new Chapter, we must cast our minds back to the end of 2022, and the launch of Chapter 4 Season 1. From there, we’ve seen five seasons in total, and multiple mid-season updates adding in anime tie-ins, Star Wars abilities, and more. Currently, almost a year later, we’re at the eve of a huge live event called The Big Bang that will feature an Eminem performance, and a "new beginning for Fortnite". Before we jump into everything new, let’s take a look back at the five biggest hits and the five biggest misses from Fortnite Chapter 4. From Augments, to Mega City, and beyond!
Hit - Fortnite switches to Unreal Engine 5.1
The dawn of Chapter 4 Season 1 heralded a massive change for Fortnite, with the switch to Unreal Engine 5 completely overhauling the game’s visuals. Everything from the lighting to the density of foliage changed for the better, in what is probably the most stark update to Fortnite in years. Chapter 4 Season 1 was heavy on castles, brick buildings, and a massive angular building called The Citadel. All of these perfectly showcased Unreal Engine 5’s new bells and whistles, and the addition of enhanced shadows to character models and cosmetic items really added a new sense of depth and movement to skins we’d been using for months.
Miss - What happened to Hurdling?
A new movement mechanic came with Chapter 4’s arrival in the form of Hurdling. Players could sprint towards waist-high obstacles to automatically leap over them. This pretty much split the player base right down the middle, so much so that Epic swiftly removed Hurdling from Fortnite completely. Since then, there’s been the odd rumor about the much-maligned mechanic’s return, but so far we’ve seen no sign that it’s coming back anytime soon. Perhaps Chapter 5 might be a good testbed for Hurdling? Only time will tell.
Hit - Augments changed the game
Chapter 4 brought one of many changes to the fundamentals of Fortnite. Augments were a risky bet, but I’d say they paid off in the end. Throughout matches, players could activate four Augments that would provide bonuses and tradeoffs. You might increase your headshot damage at the expense of firing rate, increase your swim speed and apply a health regen effect while in the water, or cause balloons to attach to your character every 30 seconds or so.
Sometimes, Augments could really save the day when you were trying to win, other times, well, they just added wacky modifiers that helped make things feel a bit more varied over time. Fortnite OG removed the Augments, and I must say I’ve missed them. It’s hard to think that they’ll be absent in Chapter 5, given how well they’ve been received so far.
Miss - MEGA City doesn’t live up to the hype
Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 2 came with an attached subtitle: MEGA. This, of course, marked the arrival of Fortnite’s largest POI yet, the towering MEGA City. Promotional material teased skyscrapers, dark, moody streets, and neon-drenched corridors to move through. Unfortunately, the reality couldn’t quite live up to the promise, as MEGA City became a largely ignored area shortly after release. The loot simply wasn’t good enough, and the buildings were not designed well enough for skirmishes, to the point that you’d rarely visit the city if you didn’t have to. Not to mention how bland it all looked in the daytime. Still, the grind rails were cool, at least.
Hit - The Kinetic Blade becomes an all-purpose killing machine
Boy, do I miss the Kinetic Blade, the perfect mix between a movement item and a melee weapon. It could be charged up to trigger a swiping lunge toward enemies, it could knock them off of high places, and even be used to close the gap between the Storm and the safe zone in a pinch. The Kinetic Blade provided a rare case of a movement update truly feeling balanced. It was later bolstered by Augments, before being tweaked slightly for the Halloween event. Possibly the biggest highlight of Fortnite MEGA as a whole.
Miss - Layoffs at Epic continue a worrying trend
2023 was an absolutely devastating year for many, as widespread industry layoffs continue to cast uncertainty for workers, as profits soar for the companies they work for. Ubisoft, Frontier, Bungie, Media Molecule, and then Epic Games all announced layoffs. Epic Games got rid of 16% of its workforce, in a move that sparked debates about whether the company’s growth is unsustainable at its current rate. Fortnite is more popular than ever, so it’s certainly hard to stomach so many people suddenly losing their livelihoods. Epic hasn’t done much to alleviate concerns, and after it was revealed that the Epic Games Store hasn’t been profitable in five years, it’s worrying to hear that growth is still the company’s ‘goal’.
Hit - Heists offered up a new way to play
Fortnite: Last Resort made a very interesting change to the game’s weapon meta. It started by locking the best weapons away in new points of interest (POIs) guarded by non-player characters (NPCs) before surrounding them with traps, laser gates, and encrypted passwords. To get to them, players had to land at one of Thorne’s resorts, battle through NPCs and other players, and then kill a boss to gain access to a vault. Only then could the smash-and-grab heist take place, resulting in an alarm-blaring dash to escape the compound. This added a whole new way to engage with Fortnite’s new map and really mixed up the first 10 minutes or so of every match.
Miss - Age Restriction confusion
On November 16, 2023, and completely without warning, Epic Games implemented content restrictions in Fortnite. Every cosmetic, outfit, and item in the game now had an age rating on it, with Back Bling featuring blades, guns, and other weapons declared suitable only for Teen-rated (T-rated) experiences. Now, if you attempt to take these restricted items and outfits into an experience rated for everyone, the game will automatically switch your character to a default. Rather predictably, this has not gone down well with the community, forcing Epic to reconsider the changes. Moving forward, the company is re-evaluating all skins and items, and says that "a small number of existing cosmetics and less than 10 Outfits will remain playable only in T-rated (or regionally equivalent rated) islands because of their obvious fear or violence elements." The changes will kick in on December 3, so we’ll have to wait and see how it all lands.
Hit - Season OG marks a new high point for Fortnite
And now for what is perhaps Fortnite’s biggest win of Chapter 4 - that’s right, it’s Season OG. For the last month or so, Fortnite players have been warped back to 2018, dropping onto a wonderfully recreated Chapter 1 map, complete with original loot pool and POIs. Tilted Towers is back, and so is Frosty Flights, in a move that has enabled Fortnite to hit new highest player numbers. The best part of Season OG has been the weekly updates, which have dragged players through Chapter 1, from Season 5 to Season X. Planes were added in, as were new POIs like Loot Lake’s floating island. It’s been a mighty fine time to be a Fortnite player, especially one that’s been with the game from the very beginning.
Miss - Welcome to the Jungle, we’ve got fall damage
I’d wager that of all five seasons, Fortnite Wilds is Chapter 4’s most controversial. It stripped back movement massively, and added in a real ammo shortage, alongside some of the most visually dense POIs in the game’s history. I could go on and on about how the weapon meta unfairly favored the Explosive Rifle and Soaring Sprints combo, or about how the Transformers tie-in didn’t really land, but no, I’m here purely to lament those damn jungle canopies. For three months in 2023, fall damage became my one true enemy in Fortnite, as I slipped from trees, fell off of clifftops, and misjudged leaps of faith into small ponds below. Thankfully, I’ll probably never have to slide through the muddy bogs of Creaky Compound again. I truly hope not, at least.
So there you have it, those are Fortnite Chapter 4’s biggest hits and misses. For more on the game, be sure to check out our look at when the next season of Fortnite drops. Elsewhere, there’s our guide on the best free games.
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Jake is a freelance writer who currently works regularly with TRG. Hailing from the overcast shores of Brighton in the United Kingdom, Jake can be found covering everything from features to guides content around the latest game releases. As seen on NME.com, Eurogamer.net, and VG247.com, Jake specializes in breaking games down into approachable pieces for guides, and providing SEO advice to websites looking to expand their audiences.