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Fortnite's showstopping Marvel finale drops a huge cliffhanger

UPDATE: Record 15 million people joined in.

UPDATE 2/12/20: Epic Games has announced a record-breaking 15.3 million concurrent players for its Marvel season finale event, the largest in-game total for Fortnite ever. A further 3.4 million people watched live via YouTube and Twitch, Epic said. You can catch up on everything that happened and watch the event in full yourself below, or see what the new season has in store here.

ORIGINAL STORY 1/12/20: There's been criticism this Fortnite season has been too much of a Marvel advertisement, that the game's first crossover battle pass was too much crossover with too little Fortnite underneath. But after the fireworks of tonight's season finale, and with all the game's Marvel influences seemingly warped out of the way, Epic has left its game on an enormous cliffhanger, and definitively moved on Fortnite's own internal narrative.

Let's recap. Throughout the season, Marvel planet gobbler Galactus has been looming ever closer, drawn in by the temptation of a tasty snack on Fortnite's all-powerful Zero Point. (That's the shiny orb thing which used to live under the old map's Loot Lake, and which seemingly hides beneath this new map, too.)

Last time around Fortnite's servers hit capacity at 12 million players - so turning up an hour early was encouraged tonight.

Tonight's live event, which seems to have gone technically smoothly, brought Galactus bearing down on Fortnite's world in a scripted sequence featuring voiced cameos from Iron Man, Thor and Wolverine. You were the star of the show, gifted a jetpack by Tony Stark then warped inside of a battle bus rigged with explosives. The plan? Drive at Galactus. Don't miss.

So followed a set of elaborate on-rails sequences where you used the bus to shoot down missiles while Iron Man quipped in the background, then after a nudge from Thor drove along Galactus' giant surface - a clear riff on a Death Star trench run - until you were in position. With that, it was goodbye to Iron Man ("we had some laughs right?!") and goodbye to everything Marvel, as Galactus exploded and all trace of that universe appeared to be handily warped home.

Cut to black, and then... well, you were back in a familiar-looking office, which belongs to a familiar-looking John Jones. Previously visited in the game's last big live event, this fourth wall-breaking area appears to be another world entirely, one where an office of suited employees attempts to keep the battle royale island's inhabitants from breaking out of the looped reality they're in. Last time around, Jones seemed to have the situation under control - at least until one character appeared to escape the simulation for good. This time around? Jones was out cold on his back, and it was panic stations all around.

And with that, it really was the end - with some enormous questions hanging open for whatever comes next. What reality will the next season take place in? What state was the Island left in after Galactus ripped out its Zero Point? Is the Fortnite simulation even still running?

Fortnite now sits in only its second ever period of extended downtime - though it'll be shorter than last year's two day-long black hole. The game will return tomorrow morning, UK time.

In the meantime, there is a lot for Fortnite fans to chew over. This new map's Zero Point has been exposed, and it was under the Agency all along. Iron Man appeared to warp Galactus inside it, in an area first seen in the game's 2018 butterfly live event. And with all these shenanigans going on, surely John Jones is getting fired? Apparently not - he's already teasing next season's characters...

Rewatch tonight's event in full below:

Cover image for YouTube videoFortnite - Nexus War 'Galactus ' live event (official)