Within the games industry it's common for press, video creators and various others to be given access to certain games or content ahead of their official release, in return for which they agree to abide by an embargo. It's one of those things that makes the little world of media go round, ensuring critics and content creators can prepare the coverage that their audience wants. So if, for example, you get a heads-up on a new unannounced mode for the world's biggest battle royale title so you can get gameplay footage ready... best not get your dates wrong.
The latter appears to be exactly what's happened here, with a new creative mode in Fortnite accidentally revealed by YouTuber lachlan. It appears lachlan was invited to an early press event for upcoming Fortnite changes, uploaded a video about them before he was meant to and, despite taking it down, the internet had already done its thing. Mirrors of the footage are popping back up as quickly as Epic can get them taken down.
The major takeaway is that Fortnite's creative mode functions a lot like Minecraft, in that players can set up their own privately hosted servers, create maps to fit their own designs, then invite other players to take part in multiplayer gameplay of various types. Servers can be set to private, friends only, friends of friends, and other similar levels of restricted access. When creating a server, you'll be able to select from one of four islands within that server of differing shapes and sizes, but it's unclear if players will be able to customise those layouts or are just dealt either a fixed or random hand.
Players can fly around the map, editing elements of the terrain at will, and are only bound creatively by a memory limit designed to prevent the server crashing.
There's a huge host of match type settings available, allowing for custom modes, game lengths, starting equipment setups, and rulesets to follow when fighting to the death in your custom playground, topped off by the ability to jump into these creations as a group with the edit tools turned off.
There's a whole bunch more detail in the video, but basically you can create your own custom map, then play a battle royale match within it, which is pretty exciting and far ahead of where the competition is. There's no indication of when this mode will launch but, with Season 7 of Fortnite launching tomorrow, and a big announcement from Epic Games due at The Game Awards, it's likely to be very soon indeed.