Fortnite's mysterious missile may launch on July 1

Fortnite season 4 delivered, among other things, a big missile sitting in a silo embedded in the western hills. In the real world it's best for everyone if missiles are never used, but in videogames it's a completely different situation: They're basically Chekhov's ICBM, and if you see one you can be pretty sure that sooner or later that sucker is going to go off. 

When that might happen in Fortnite has been the subject of much recent speculation, and it now appears that the answer is July 1. Players deduced this, as you can see in the video below, by changing the date on their PC/console. Manually setting it ahead to July 1 and then starting the game causes the word "Launch" to appear on television screens in big flashing red letters. The hologram of the rocket hovering above the control panel in the villain's lair also disappears when the date is changed. 

The conclusion seems fairly self-evident—"missile" plus "launch alert" generally equals "things are happening"—but GamesRadar dug down into the numbers and found that they line up too. The Nintendo Switch version of Fortnite briefly displayed a three-day countdown timer on in-game television screens earlier this month. The projected time from when it was first seen came and went uneventfully, but three days from the coming Thursday update is—gasp!—July 1.   

It seems very likely then that the missile will fly on July 1. What happens when it comes down, or where that might be? Those are the big questions. Given what happened when the meteor hit to kick off season 4, I expect it to be, if you'll forgive me for saying, impactful. We'll have our eyes on it, and we'll let you know how it goes. 

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Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.