Several sci-fi franchises are uniting in the new season of Fortnite to help fight off an alien invasion.
Superman is the starring character of Chapter 2, Season 7, which debuted Tuesday (June 8). But you'll also get space-themed assists from a customizable alien named Kymera and possibly a "Star Trek" character, as the iconic Battle Pass leveling system includes a Vulcan salute.
A Battle Pass requires you either to buy a monthly subscription to Fortnite for $11.99 or to purchase the pass outright in the game's currency, called V-bucks. (1,000 V-bucks is $9.99, and the season costs 950 V-bucks.)
There are big changes afoot in the new season, and we aren't just talking about the sudden jump from a "Jurassic Park"-style prehistoric season to a futuristic alien fight. We took a quick first look at the season and saw quite a few space-themed things to enjoy.
The battle pass system with Levels 1 to 100 is gone; instead, as you progress you will receive five "Battle Stars" per level to spend on specific rewards you want. (The previous Battle Pass forced players to all receive rewards in a fixed sequence.) Starting on Page 2 of the rewards, however, you'll see a couple of skins that you only can receive after buying everything on the pages beforehand, such as the "Sunny" character that includes a T-shirt that says "I don't believe in humans."
Some of our other favorite space-themed rewards include the flying saucer glider, the "abduction" and black hole-themed "inversion" contrails, a loading screen with a character holding up a sign asking the aliens to "Get me out of here" and the "Alie-Yum" emote that appears to show an alien looking at something tasty. The "unzipped" emote is also a pretty cool alien trope.
The map also includes a few new areas. "Corny Conflicts" is now a new zone of the map where there used to be crop circles and it appears to be a center for fighting off the alien conflict, although more details should be revealed as the season progresses.
Also look for "Believer Beach" — where there seems to be a party zone, complete with alien-themed floats and graffiti. There, we received a game reward called "Take Me To Your Leader" upon touching down. Shortly after, we experienced an "abduction," which saw an alien ship pick us up, trap us and fly us through the air — then deposit us maybe a mile over on the map.
The map also features the mothership hovering over what used to be the Spire, and hot zones of alien conflict (marked in purple) at Pleasant Park and Dirty Docks. When you touch down in the purple-marked zones, watch out for a futuristic agent set called "IO" — which will shoot you the instant they see you — as well as the inevitable flying saucers.
You'll also spot a lot of weird purple flowers around the map, which came with the aliens, but so far they do nothing but make strange noises as you walk by. As you run around avoiding UFOs (unidentified flying objects) and other players, you can pick up alien artifacts across the island or inside "cosmic chests", another upgrade from previous seasons. As you spend the artifacts, you can claim styles including the customizable Kymera outfit.
Players can hack and pilot flying saucers — a zippy improvement over some of the planes we've seen in the past. There appear to be rail gun-like weapons that shoot through structures, which may be useful for those situations where you're facing down a few enemy players just as the storm descends. Just like in the last season, you can receive bars from completing quests or — a new addition for Season 7 — payphones. Sending the bars will allow you to upgrade weapons and receive other benefits.
We caught what appears to be a scanning device, perhaps another reference to "Star Trek," as well as crafting materials that allow players to create older, previously removed weapons from previous seasons. Fortnite advertises other "new high-tech weapons," including a pulse rifle, a vaporizer ray gun and a rail gun to shoot down flying saucers.
When you log in, a cut scene plays showing a huge "Independence Day"-style ship descending upon the island after a series of mysterious islander disappearances. It appears that the Spire, one of the locations of the last season, gets destroyed after the UFO sucks up the Zero Point energy source (opens in new tab) that seems to be the center of reality in Fortnite.
The season trailer on Fortnite's Twitter feed (opens in new tab) shows a swarm of UFOs in sleek, circular ships descending on the Fortnite island. Fortunately, our old friend Agent Jonesy is there along with his former boss, Doctor Slone and a host of characters, oddly including Instagram influencer Guggimon (opens in new tab) who has more than a million followers.
"We now stand at the brink of war with an enemy we do not understand. We face impossible odds," Slone says in the trailer. "But we have something they don't — a reason to fight," she adds.
As Superman appears on the screen and starts flying, Slone continues, "Whether you've always been here, or you're a visitor from another star, this island is ours and if it's war they want — we'll give it to them."
Stay tuned for more alien fun as the season progresses.
Correction: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect spelling for the character Dr. Slone.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.