Fortnite Season 9 is just around the corner, putting an end to the Pirates v Ninjas theme of the game’s eighth series that saw volcanic eruptions, treasure maps, and all manner of challenges and loot to horde.
With the game back on its regular, ten-week turnaround schedule, it’s been a month and a half since we last saw a big update to the massively popular Battle Royale game.
So what’s in store? While details of new season content are usually kept under wraps by developers Epic Games until launch, all manner of clues, teasers and hints have been floating around, and the rumour mill is in full swing.
Here’s what we know so far:
What will the theme of Fortnite Season 9 be?
Fortnite’s new seasons usually bring with them an overriding theme. For example, Season 4 focused on superheroes this time last year, and Season 6’s ‘Darkness Rises’ theme saw Fortnite’s bizarre meta-narrative really kick into gear with Kevin the Cube.
So what can fans expect for Season 9?
While there are far from any concrete details, what we can glean from teaser images shared by Epic is that the theme of Fortnite Season 9 may be of a futuristic ilk. The first teaser is unsurprisingly fairly vague, showing little more than a robotic Fortnite character.
But that robot hints of a future-based theme, and even the lettering on its chest looks like something straight from a sci-fi movie.
That theory is given extra credence by the caption Epic chose to accompany the image: “The Future is Unknown”.
What’s the ‘story’ heading into Season 9?
While Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode – being a multiplayer game – doesn’t have a story per-se, Epic Games tend to keep things interesting. They updated the map and setting into motion in-game events, which spell out a sort of meta-narrative for the fans to pick apart. Most changes to the game implemented in new seasons, are explained in some way through these events.
And the end of Season 8 has been another eventful one as we head towards Season 9. Some of the most popular locations on Fortnite’s map seem to have been destroyed by the giant volcano which first appeared at the start of Season 8.
An in-game eruption began powerfully, plunging the map into darkness before it started spewing molten boulders from its caldera.
Locations in the volcano’s destructive path included Polar Peak, which saw its mountain sustain a giant crack, and Retail Row, the car park of which is no more.
But the biggest casualty was Tilted Towers, arguably the most famous location in Fortnite. A bombardment of volcanic rock has almost entirely flattened the city, leaving nothing but piles of smoking ash in its wake.
That’s a pretty big change to make to one of the game’s preferred landing spots, so Epic could be introducing a major new location in its place. That wasn’t the only event of note.
In the weeks prior to the eruption, mysterious runes and ‘dig sites’ began appearing across the map. There were five in total, and each represented a seal on a mysterious giant door that showed up above the game’s Loot Lake.
They all required a different method of unlocking – from destroying them to dancing in front of them – but of course Fortnite’s dedicated player-base managed to get that door open.
When they entered the door, they were taken to a vast underground cavern, filled with items and weapons previously removed from the game, encased in blocks of ice.
When Epic removes something from Fortnite, it refers to it as ‘vaulting’ an item, and this cavern appears to be that mythical place.
There were six items in the vault – planes, the Infinity Blade, the grappler, the tactical SMG, bounce pads, and the drum gun – and players could attack the ice blocks to set them free.
The first item broken out was the drum gun, and it appears that it has been added back into the game like many players expected.
How much is a Battle Pass?
As usual, all players will be able to enjoy Season 9 of Fortnite for free, and even partake in some of the weekly challenges, but to get the most out of it you might want to opt for a Battle Pass.
It’s expected that the Battle Pass will once again deliver 100 tiers to progress through by completing challenges and gaining in-game experience, with loot to unlock along the way
There will be new cosmetics to unlock, meaning you’ll be able to customise your character’s look even more.
The Battle Pass will likely cost 950 V-Bucks (Fortnite’s in-game currency).
The cheapest pack of V-Bucks you can buy is 1,000 for £7.99.
What is Fortnite Season 9’s release date?
Season 9 of Fortnite will begin on Thursday 9 May, and will most probably be available from the usual patch time of 9am BST.