The 10th season of play in mobile, console and computer game "Fortnite" brings a new mechanized BRUTE suit designed for one or two people and time-bending Rift Zones, as well as more room in Arena mode for highly skilled players following the Fortnite World Cup.
- Rift Zones -
Returning players firing up "Fortnite" can expect to see a blend of futuristic and retro elements welcomed by the start of Season 10 -- now known as Season X.
Map changes have been brought about by the explosion of an orb used during a battle between a giant robot and a monstrous sea creature towards the end of Season 9.
The orb appears to have sent the "Fortnite" timeline back in time to the moment before Season 4 began back in May 2018.
Hence the presence of some landscape features from earlier in the "Fortnite" lifespan, such as a military storage facility called Dusty Depot.
At the same time, other more recent features such as the volcano-based Pressure Plant facility are still around.
Players can also expect to encounter Rift Zones, anomalies caused by the orb's explosion, in which other past locations reappear but in a slightly altered form, the official "Fortnite" blog suggests.
- Armored BRUTE -
Even more immediate is the introduction of a brand new mode of transport, a powerful mechanized suit of armor called the BRUTE.
It's designed for up to two players, one as driver, the other dispensing missiles and shotgun blasts upon fellow "Fortnite" players.
Those operating it alone can hop between driver and gunner positions to move and fire.
The BRUTE can also dash, jump, and crush enemies and structures, with a temporary but resource-hungry shield able to provide 5 seconds of additional protection.
It can take a lot of damage but will eventually explode, eliminating those within a localized blast radius.
Its presence in Solo matches encourages players to form temporary alliances to use it or to oppose it.
- Bye-bye Baller -
While introducing the BRUTE, the "Fortnite" team has removed the ultra mobile Baller, a spherical single-person vehicle with a powerful, far-reaching grappling hook; likewise, according to patch notes, a glider redeployment item has also been withdrawn from normal play -- though it remains available in large team modes.
- Champion Arenas -
Finally, presenters at last weekend's Fortnite World Cup had teased an expanded competitive play mode for Season X.
That is realized through several updates to Arena mode, which now has a 10-tier ranking system, three of which are for Champion-level players.
Starting on August 1, Season X lasts 9½ weeks, ending on October 6.
As usual, all kinds of costume variants and character emotes are unlockable through the free game's optional paid Season X Battle Pass combined with regular, progression-based play.
The Battle Pass retails through the "Fortnite" item shop for 950 V-Bucks, an amount of virtual currency equivalent to roughly US$9.49, while 1,000 V-Bucks remains the smallest amount available to buy.