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Fortnite's jetpacks finally take flight tomorrow

UPDATE: And here's how they work.

UPDATED STORY 22/5/18: Fortnite's jetpacks are finally here and players are already having oodles of high altitude fun with the new limited-time additions.

However, if you've not yet had chance to download Fortnite's new 4.2 update, which released earlier today, there are a few things you might like to know in preparation for your Battle Royale adventures in mid-air propulsion.

Firstly, jetpacks are Legendary drops found in treasure chests, and are an entirely new kind of item, known as backpacks. All backpacks are held in your inventory and can be equipped in the new backpack slot - unsurprisingly, you're only able to carry and equip one backpack at a time, and, when equipped, they'll take the place of your current back bling.

For now, jetpacks are the only type of backpack item in the game - although Epic inadvertently released a second type, the rather mysterious Eye of the Storm Tracker, earlier today. This has since been removed, but not before the Fortnite community got a couple of commemorative snaps. It seems reasonable to assume that plenty more backpack types will be incoming.

Back to jetpacks though; once equipped you're unsurprisingly able to launch skywards as you please, shooting with abandon while airborne - although your horizontal speed is limited, so don't expect to perform too much in the way of rapid-fire map traversal. That's not to say that you can't pull off some impressively nimble manoeuvres, however.

The quickly removed Eye of the Storm Tracker backpack, snapped by Reddit user dertidferris.

Notably, jetpacks won't permit a permanent departure from the ground. The longer you fire your thrusters, the lower the fuel indicators either side of the jetpack will drop. Once empty, you'll return to earth and your fuel levels will gradually increase again. However, your overall fuel reserves are limited, and once they deplete, the jetpack will be destroyed.

If you're curious to know what else is introduced in Fortnite's 4.2 update, you can peruse the game's latest patch notes for more details. Succintly, however, it brings a new limited-time Battle Royale mode in the form of the reworked Solid Gold v2, which turns all in-game weapons into Legendary weapons - including the new Heavy Shotgun and Legendary Burst Assault Rifle.

A second limited-time Battle Royale mode, known as Close Encounters, will begin on Friday, May 25th, and restricts combat entirely to shotgun usage. Heavy Shotguns can be found in treasure chests and supply drops, while other shotgun types spawn as floor loot. Matches are 15 minutes in length, and feature a faster-than-usual storm. Oh, and the best thing? Jetpacks are enabled, promising some truly ridiculous up-close-and-personal slapstick action.

Update 4.2's other big inclusion is the new Archaeolo Jess outfit (shown above), which adds a bit of the old pulp adventuring spirit to Save the World mode. 4.2 is now live on all platforms, and you can read the full patch notes at your leisure.

ORIGINAL STORY 21/5/18: Epic has announced that jetpacks will finally - following their postponement back in March - be coming to Fortnite tomorrow, May 22nd, as part of the new 4.2 content update.

Jetpacks were first touted for inclusion in Epic's juggernaut Battle Royale game in February. At the time, an in-game announcement teased, "Take the fight to all new heights", while promising that jetpacks would be "coming soon". Unfortunately, that "soon" wasn't to be, with Epic electing to delay jetpacks following "a last minute design issue".

That design issue is presumably now resolved, and Fortnite's New Updates screen is once again teasing jetpacks' arrival. The screen also confirms that they'll be debuting as a new item - rather than, say, in their own unique mode - and will, surprisingly, only be around for a limited time.

As to why jetpacks are a temporary inclusion at present, only Epic knows; perhaps it wants to keep them feeling a bit special, or perhaps it's aware that some balancing is still required and intends to assess player feedback before making them a permanent fixture - probably wise after the furore surrounding the hilarious, if blatantly overpowered, guided missiles.

Fortnite's 4.2 update is due to arrive tomorrow, May 22nd at 8am ET / noon in the UK - so we'll know more about the game's long-awaited jetpacks then.

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.