Frenzied fans are predicting that Fortnite Battle Royale’s latest season is the last before a major reset, but we don't agree... although, actually, we also do.
No, no, don't click away from the confusion - we'll explain.
Multiple leaks and in-game evidence are being used to back up the belief we're about to get huge game changes, but there are a lot of holes in the theories - so what's actually happening?
Ok, let's begin with why Chapter 3 is around the corner. Firstly, at the center of the argument that the end of the Chapter is coming is the arrival of the game’s current antagonist the Cube Queen.
This villain is a powerful figure that was (accurately) leaked months ago alongside multiple other details that came true - and at that time the leaker indicated the Cube Queen would be important to Chapter 3, so the timelines line up if a reset is incoming.
Other fans point to Epic Games' CCO Donald Mustard’s comments back in September as proof we won’t be getting another season in Chapter 2 when he said that “CH2 S8 and the two after it” are maybe his favorite parts so far.
His wording suggests we could be getting a Chapter 3 Season 1 and Season 2 instead, rather than the rumored Season 9 or Season 10 (why not just say S8, S9 and SX / S10?).
Some in-game items, like the Page-Turner emote, reference things coming to an end (with its description being “Just a second, I'm almost at the end of the chapter”) - a pretty big signifier that things are drawing to a close for this period of the game.
Lastly, some fans have pointed out that this wouldn't really be an early end of Chapter 2. Season 1 on the new island lasted much longer than other seasons before it, as did a few others in Chapter 2, meaning that the current chapter is now longer (in terms of days) than Chapter 1. Time for a reboot, right?
And now for the 'leaks'...
If the above doesn’t sound like enough evidence then we also have some leaks that are adding further fuel to the fire - though while Fortnite leakers are often on the money, we do have to take these next few pieces of ‘evidence’ with a pinch of salt.
For starters (on the technical side) Fortnite is expected to move over to Unreal Engine 5(UE5).
Epic Games develops both Fortnite and the Unreal game engine, with UE5 being the most up-to-date version of said engine, so a move to the platform makes perfect sense.
These game-changing updates would make more sense as updates to arrive with a new Chapter rather than a regular season - and would track with Epic Games’ history of combining big changes with a new Chapter, after it introduced swimming and other features at the beginning of Chapter 2.
Players are also expecting the (hopefully brief) return of Mechs this season. The controversial vehicles were last usable in Season 1 Chapter X and their inclusion would be a nod to the game's previous Chapter ending.
Last but not least the biggest clue we have is that the Black Hole was recently updated. This ominous loading screen was used at the end of Chapter 1 while the game was in an extended period of maintenance preparing for Chapter 2.
There’s not much reason for it to have been updated unless Epic Games is planning to use it again soon - most likely to tie over from Chapter 2 into Chapter 3.
Why Season 8 ISN'T the end of Chapter 2?
OK, now we've made our incredibly compelling case for Chapter 2 drawing to a close... allow us to contradict ourselves entirely. (After all, who wants an article that makes sense?)
Let's begin with the fact Season 8 feels more like the 'beginning of the end' rather than the end itself.
We’ve previously complained that Chapter 2 hasn’t had the same sense of build-up as Chapter 1 - where players slowly watched reality breakdown over multiple seasons.
Season 8 in Chapter 2 is only starting to show us that build-up, it feels like we need another season of terror to at long last rip Chapter 2 apart.
In addition, we don’t like that this isn’t another Season X, the lauded finale to Chapter 1. The name carries with it a sense of finality that boring old Chapter 8 doesn’t.
Even if Season X comes as the game’s ‘Chapter 9’ (borrowing a page out of rival Apple’s playbook and skipping over the number nine) we’d like to see this naming convention return for Chapter 2’s official end.
Lastly, we have (yawn) boring old logistics being the main issue that suggests Chapter 2 has a little longer to go.
Season 8 is set to end on December 5, right before a holiday event would be expected to begin in Fortnite.
Epic Games usually celebrates the end of the year with a Christmas-inspired event that includes limited-time mechanics, game modes and challenges for players to complete - and even maybe some new Fortnite skins.
Leaks suggest the same is expected to arrive this year, but with a new season arriving only a week or so before, it could lead to Chapter 3 feeling incredibly messy out of the gate.
It would make much more sense for the Holiday event to happen in the middle of a more regular season than the start of a new Chapter.
We could see Season 8 unexpectedly extended to make room for Fortnite’s holiday event, however that would still mean seeing Chapter 3 later than some expect.
We’ll have to wait and see what Epic Games has planned, but the evidence does suggest we’ll see Fortnite Chapter 2 end at some point in the not too distant future, it’s just a matter of when.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.