As is now obligatory for any kind of service game, Fortnite has announced its 2021 Halloween event: The Wrath of the Cube Queen. Fortnite being Fortnite, however, the largest live service game in the world and the vanguard of Tim Sweeney's beloved metaverse, it's doing it at quite the scale.
Fortnite's had a thing with cubes that now goes back years, and the Fortnitemares event is all about basically a cube war. Players have previously fought against the cube monsters, but now the cube queen's turned up with some giant ones called Caretakers. "Tall, foreboding, shadowy apparitions," it says here, making them sound quite romantic really. They should be carrying a box of Milk Tray. But alas "their spectral tendrils pull you directly into The Sideways for a showdown on their home turf. Survive a Caretaker’s assault and you’ll walk away all the richer."
As part of the event the Horde Rush mode returns, which players can enter as a team, and comes with its own quests and scheduled tournaments. So: kill the little things, kill the new big things, get lots of loot.
There's a whole bunch of cosmetic stuff included in the Halloween event, listed in the blog, and the whole shebang comes with a 'punchcard' of quests to earn bits and bobs. Most eyebrow-raising is that "Ariana Grande has returned to the Island, but now in new gear ready to take down monsters." 'Spacefarer Ariana Grande' comes with her own monster hunter questline that of course has its own Grande rewards.
There's also some Ghostbusters gear inspired by the new film, and alongside all the new loot the daily and weekly quests have been rejigged to basically be more generous: "now offering additional objectives and more XP for each completion."
Rather sweetly, this update also comes with a papercraft blog with various templates for Fortnite-related masks and figures. In case you're, god forbid, tempted to go outside on Halloween. It is rather tempting to build one's own Peely. This rather bland banana mascot is somehow now the game's true star: perhaps because of the legal arguments over whether it's naked.
The Wrath of the Cube Queen event is live now and will run until 9am ET on November. There's also more to come, including a series of animated shorts that can be viewed in-game called... Shortnitemares. Now that's what I call ghastly.
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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."