Fortnite’s newest installment, Chapter 4, brought a number of big changes to the battle royale. The chapter’s inaugural season introduced a new Augment system, a chaotic bouncy hammer, and plenty of additional weapons. The new elements make for plenty of wacky fun, but usually only when they are working properly–something that has been increasingly uncommon over the past three months.
“I’m enjoying the season but it seems like something new is broken every week,” said Redditor ltllama in a thread about the high number of cosmetic issues that have popped in in Chapter 4.
Those new cosmetic issues are one issue of many in a season that’s been plagued by bugs. Players have found ways to exploit new mechanics like the Shockwave Hammer and the Aerialist Augment, letting them bounce around the map infinitely. Other recurring issues have made it impossible for players to sprint or sometimes launching them into the sky after a mantle.
Bugs are a common problem in the battle royale genre. The combination of dozens of in-game systems and an open world sandbox make it difficult to test every scenario before new features get introduced into live servers. Bugs have even impacted major battle royale tournaments with huge prize pools in some instances.
Fortnite moved to Unreal Engine 5.1 with the introduction of Chapter 4. That means that the battle royale boasts some new visual tools, including Nanite for geometry, Lumen for lighting and reflections, and Virtual Shadow maps. These new tools make it one of the best-looking multiplayer games on the market. But some fans, whether they’re right or wrong, believe these changes could be causing some of the technical issues.
“I hope [that Unreal Engine 5.1 growing pains] are the case and next season will be just working as it should,” said Redditor SnD_PumpkinHD in a comment. “It’s rather weird seeing how many “bugged” stuff we’re currently having.”
Epic Games developers haven’t confirmed if the backend change has been the cause of these bugs, but they have commented on how difficult it is to bringing the change to the massive catalog of content that Fortnite boasts.
“One of the challenges with doing a visual update to a game like Fortnite is there’s a lot of content already in the game,” Unreal Engine VP of engineering Nick Penwarden said in an interview with The Verge. “I think the biggest challenge is really having that entire library of existing content and trying to bring everything forward.”
New issues, including clipping and other visual bugs like the one that stretches Sarah Connor face like a piece of elastic putty, have popped up with cosmetics that have been in Fortnite for years. Issues have also impacted mechanics and weapons that have been in Fortnite playlists long before Chapter 4.
“Recently I learned, in the top 12 of course, that firing a bow out the window of a moving car disables reloading of your entire loadout,” said Redditor Venku_Skirata in a comment. “Both times this has happened we’ve all died so I don’t know if being rebooted fixes it.”
Many of the new changes introduced with Chapter 4 have had to be removed temporarily at some point in the season, which has been running since December 4th, 2022. Other mechanics that were introduced before Chapter 4, including the ability to hurdle over low walls and mantle over larger ones, have also had to be removed recently. The majority of removed items and mechanics have returned to the game, although some reported bugs remain active.
While the technical issues have been a thorn in the side of Fortnite’s newest season, fans have still called it one of the best content updates in recent memory. An entirely new map, the new visual update, and new mechanics have made for refreshing gameplay.
As much as these issues can be frustrating, they are a sign that the developers at Epic Games are experimenting with new systems and mechanics on a regular basis. That’s been the case with Chapter 4 so far. Everything from the Kamehameha and Deku Smash to the Shockwave Bow and Rift-Jector Seat Augment have turned final circles into a trainwreck of wacky mechanics coming together.
Players are hoping that these issues will be sorted as the next season launches in March. Many of them should be resolved, but new ones may pop up in their place.
“I also just laugh when I experience bugs etc now, at the end of the day it’s just a game,” said Redditor dang3r_muffin in a comment. “I could get upset and let it ruin my experience or just laugh it off and queue up the next match.”