UPDATE: Somewhat later than expected, Fortnite's anticipated live event has now occurred, ridding the map of one mysterious object and leaving us with another, even weirder edifice to ponder.
Following the day's increasingly frantic rift activity, relative peace has now been restored - but not before one final, dramatic blast of purple lightning ushered forth from the crack in the sky. Once the ensuing 15-second light show was over, the rift that's been a constant companion throughout Season 5 was no more; it did, however, leave a curious parting gift:
The mysterious cube-shaped monolith stands at precisely the point the final lightning blast struck, and it's far from dormant. Get too close to its humming, pulsating heft and you'll catch a glimpse of unfamiliar symbols flashing across its surface, and of distant constellations glowing from deep within. You certainly can't accuse Epic of skimping on production values.
As for the cube's tangible in-game effects, right now it will gradually boosts the shield of anyone standing within close enough range, and will violently repel anyone that tries to attack - often hard enough to cause death. You can, however, spend many happy minutes boinging harmlessly up and down on its top, as I can personally attest.
So what can we deduce from this latest in a long line of peculiar additions to Fortnite's Battle Royale map in Season 5? Well, right now, bugger all - but it seems entirely safe to assume that this is only the start of Epic's plans in the lead up to Season 6.
ORIGINAL STORY: Things have been getting extremely weird in Fortnite over the last couple of days, and fans think Season 5's dimension-hopping rift malarky is about to come to a head in the form of a live in-game event very soon indeed.
(UPDATE: The originally speculated 7pm kick-off time has obviously been and gone, so who knows if and when things will begin to unfold).
It wasn't long ago that Fortnite players began to notice that the rift, which was torn open above Battle Royale island as part of Season 4's ultimately disastrous live rocket launch, had begun to close - and since then, rift activity has been off the charts.
Yesterday saw the surprise arrival of a Mayan-like temple in-game, replacing the rather bland Tomato Town retail area to the north-east of the island. Epic has been refining its environmental storytelling skills ever since its much-trumpeted meteor strike at the end of Fortnite's Season 3, and its recent off-screen story shenanigans have so-far most prominently focussed on the giant plastic tomato head that originally crowned Tomato Town's pizza parlour.
This was pulled into a rift the start of the current season, but finally returned to its rightful location earlier this week - as fans had suspected it would, given the large rift that opened at its original position several days prior. However, no-one was anticipating that it would bring back an entire temple with it, or that Tomato Head would seemingly have inspired its own ancient religion on its time-travelling adventures - as now appears to be the case.
Just one hour until the live event is expected to happen (according to leaks, not confirmed). The final cactus is still standing and strikes are occurring every few minutes. ??— Fortnite News (@FortniteBR) August 24, 2018
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That's not the only oddity to be found on Fortnite's island right now though - the missing-in-action motel sign has now returned more or less to its rightful place to the north-west of the map, albeit looking worse for wear. Meanwhile, the overhead crack that once seemed to spread from horizon to horizon is now a tiny, near-insignificant thing in the sky - or at least would be if it hadn't started intermittently belching great blasts of purple lightning at the earth.
These lightning strikes initially appeared to be occurring at four minutes past every hour, but have rapidly increased in frequency over the last 24 hours. Each lightning strike has been aimed directly at the same mountainous region in Battle Royale's recently added desert biome, and eagle-eyed fans have spotted that the rift energy has been obliterating one of several cactuses atop the mound at fixed points throughout the day.
Right now, there's one cactus left, and rift lightning is striking the map roughly every three minutes - leading many to believe that something big is about to occur. This also ties in with earlier rumours from dataminers that suggested a live event similar to Season 4's rocket launch would unfold at some point today. Given the frequency of rift activity at present, and the pattern of recent significant occurrences, most fans are speculating that things are likely to come to a head around 7pm BST this evening, Friday August 24th.
Whatever's about to unfold, it'll almost certainly offer at least some hints at what's to come in Fortnite's relatively imminent sixth season - so if you're at all curious to see it live, you might want to log in at 7pm and see what unfolds.