Fortnite's Getting a New Physics System Starting Next Month

Fortnite's Getting a New Physics System Starting Next Month

Ahead of the next season, Chaos is coming to Fortnite.

Fortnite is far and away the most popular title running on Epic Games' Unreal Engine, but it's seldom thought of as the best showcase of the engine's technical capabilities. That could change when Epic introduces a new physics system to its battle royale, but at the beginning Epic says it just wants to make sure "Fortnite still feels like Fortnite" after the switchover.

A new post at Fortnite's official blog reveals that Chapter 2, Season 2 (following Fortnite's post-black hole refresh) will launch on February 20, a few weeks after Epic pushes an update that migrates the game to Unreal Engine's Chaos physics system. Epic says it anticipates "some bumps" in the transition, so it's starting tests of Fortnite with Chaos now and will monitor player feedback in the weeks to come.

While Epic says its goal is to keep Fortnite's feel intact, it's unclear whether the move to Chaos physics will change the way that Fornite looks. First unveiled with an impressive real-time demo at last year's GDC, the real highlight of the Chaos system are its destruction tools. The demo showed off how the destruction tech scales from shredding concrete pillars (just like in the lobby scene from The Matrix) to leveling entire skyscrapers, all with detailed debris and collisions.

If Epic doesn't want to disrupt Fornite's established gameplay with Chaos, then it's unlikely we'll see a similar degree of destructibility right out of the gate. After last year's poorly received change to turbo building, Epic quickly rolled the change right back. So, although Chaos tools could shake up how you create and destroy structures in Fortnite, by the principle of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," it's a safe bet that Fortnite won't abandon its modular structures any time soon.

Next time a cataclysmic event visits Fortnite's map, though, Epic could kick the spectacle up a notch with some Chaos physics razzle dazzle. This is a game that's had chunks of its map blown to smithereens multiple times in the past, and it'd be a shame if that Bayhem magic was reserved for other Unreal Engine titles.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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