Fortnite is currently offline on all platforms while it's getting patched and updated ready to support Season 5. We won't know the full extent of cosmetic changes to the map and exactly what the new season's theme is until the servers come back online. But we have had a chance to read over the V5 patch notes, which have given us a glimpse at what the game is going to look like when it returns later today.
When Fortnite comes back online later today, shotguns will work a little differently. Rather than their bullet spread being randomised, they'll now fire in a consistent manner, meaning you'll be able to learn where within their arc will actually get hit. You'll also be able to see how many of the pellets from a shot hit the target, which will be displayed by marks within the reticle, allowing you to see at a glance how effective your shot was.
Heavy shotguns now fire ten pellets rather than five, but the overall damage of the shot is unchanged, meaning that each individual pellet now does half the damage it did before, but there are twice as many. Also, after firing a shotgun, you won't be able to use a different shotgun for a short amount of time, presumably to avoid players weapon switching to fire off shotguns faster than they were designed to be shot.
The hunting rifle's aim assist has been lowered to match that of other sniper rifles, and the suppressed SMG now features the same damage drop off profile as other SMGs. We also know the update will add in the two skins featured in the image below, which seem to support the theory that the update will be themed around multiple worlds and time periods colliding.
V5 introduces a new vehicle option called the ATK, or All Terrain Kart. The vehicle can fit an entire four person squad inside, drifting grants speed boosts, the roof is a bounce pad, and non-driving passengers can work together to make the vehicle leap by pulling back on the control stick and releasing in unison.
While we've not yet been able to see the updates to the Fortnite map, we do know from these patch notes that there's a new map biome type that's a desert, and there are two new areas present, one called Paradise Palms, and one called Lazy Links.
In terms of changes to gameplay, the centre point of storm circles 7, 8, and 9 can now randomly shift to a new map location, meaning that the circle will start shrinking in a different direction rather than just closing in.
The way progressive challenges are handled is also changing, starting today with V5. Progressive challenges no longer run out at the end of a season, with players able to complete them at their own pace rather than having to rush. This means that if you're really close to a new reward and the new season is imminent, you won't lose your chance to get that skin you spent the whole month trying to earn. They're also now rewarded based on aquiring a fixed amount of XP, not based on your season level.
For Switch players, V5 adds gyro motion control options to the game. They can be toggled on and off, but will allow aiming by moving the controllers. As a big fan of motion control in shooter games, I am very excited about this particular addition.
In 50v50 or 20v20 modes, you'll now get bonus XP up to three times per match for reviving teammates.
There are some other more minor bug fixes and tweaks to the game, which can be read in full here. Once Season 5 of Fortnite comes online later today, we will report back with how the map has changed, and what the new theme of the game is like. Until then, it's time to get refreshing that login button.