'Fortnite' Chapter 2 launches with new map, gameplay

Boats, exploding gas stations, daring rescues... and fishing? "Fortnite" is back with a new map, new gameplay and, naturally, new incentives to pony up for a seasonal Battle Pass.


[Fortnite Chapter 2 Launch Trailer: youtu.be/3KgmY5NrEzU]

It's the same lush grass, towering hills, blue lakes and fluffy-clouded sky, but the Chapter 2 map in "Fortnite" is new: new locations, new features and new ways to get around.

After the hit console, computer and mobile game went dark on October 13 after Season 10 was brought to a close, developer Epic Games had players, social media followers, and website visitors stared at an image of a black hole.

That's where "Fortnite" had gone -- and now it's back, in reconfigured form.

As well as the new island layout, "Fortnite" Chapter 2 adds team transports by way of the motorboat.

Some environmental features become environmental hazards (gas station pumps and exploding barrels), while others offer different ways to stay out of sight (haystack hideouts and dumpsters' insides).

Characters will now swim instead of wade through water, and there's the prospect of going fishing with pals -- a video game inside joke pushed into the mainstream, the seafood snaffling activity having popped up in everything from "World of Warcraft" to "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening."

Of course, a new season of free-to-play "Fortnite" means a new season of its paid-for Battle Pass.


[Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 1 Battle Pass Trailer: youtu.be/Qv53Wvq_9pk]

Season 11 -- or rather Chapter 2, Season 1, as it's known in official parlance -- brings Battle Pass buyers a spread of new character costumes (called skins), including watery musclehead Rippley and pool table knockout 8-Ball, each of which have alternative getups as well.

Unlockable weapon wraps, extra styles for gliders, backpacks, and axes, and a slate of novel character moves and dances are all par for the course, with team-based emotes one of Chapter 2's novelties.

Following the success of "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," a Battle Royale genre spearhead in which players fight to be the last person (or team) standing, "Fortnite: Save the World" split off an experimental "Fortnite: Battle Royale" mode as a free-to-play option in September 2017.

Rather than adopting the military realism motifs of "PUBG," it soaked itself in softer imagery, developer Epic Games crafting a socially-oriented online playground, augmented by an emerging season-to-season storyline, from which it built out a multi-million dollar tournament calendar.

Its wild success across computer, console, and mobile platforms -- whose participants can join in the same sessions should they so choose -- brought in 250 million players and revenues of over US$2 billion.