Fortnite's UFO-themed season ended with players bravely taking on a huge alien mothership that has been hovering over the island for weeks with explosive (and awesome) results.
Chapter 2, Season 7 ended Sunday (Sept. 17) with the spaceship appearing to break up into pieces and starting to crash into the island below, although participating players were literally left falling in mid-air before three words flashed on the screen: "To Be Continued." Chapter 2, Season 8 starts Monday at 4 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT).
When Season 8 starts up tomorrow, it's not even clear if players will be invited back to play on the usual Fortnite island. During the mission to blow up the threatening ship with hidden bombs, Doctor Slone advised players that if all doesn't go well, she will not allow anyone back because the island needs to be protected.
The epic breakup of the alien spaceship was triggered by an event, "Operation: Sky Fire," which required players to invade the mothership to deal with any intruders. It wasn't an easy job, requiring you to navigate around laser-firing aliens and to jump into various tubes Slone struggled to open from her safe perch, at a distance.
We have no idea what's going to happen next when Fortnite once again is available to players Monday (Sept. 12). As of this writing, the official Fortnite Twitter said nothing about the finale's result, or what to expect for Season 8.
For older players, the group mission had callbacks to the mothership invasion in 1997's "Independence Day", albeit with fewer jokes and a strange cube that players had to activate partway through the mission. Parts of the mothership also had deep bays that looked somewhat like the Death Star of "Star Wars."
Unfortunately, Fortnite is not expected to allow players to replay this season finale, so you'll have to check out the video in this story to see what the experience was like. In my trio of players — including myself (Berlitza), Space.com editor-in-chief Tariq Malik (Hipponaut) and his 12-year-old daughter Zadie — it was Zadie who was first in our lobby group of 16 to figure out the cube activation puzzle, by the way.
The finale caps a heavy alien-themed season that included all sorts of space innovations for players. By season's end, it was possible to nab spaceships off the road, take your team along and beam up other players in impromptu abductions. You could explore the mothership to grab special items, including powerful weapons to give you an advantage in the battle royale matches.
Aliens also dotted the island, from little parasites that would attach on to your head to give you a speed boost (at a cost to your health) to larger, more threatening beings who would attack you on sight if you approached zones ringed in purple.
Season 2, Chapter 7's revamped Battle Pass system, using stars instead of levels, included numerous allusions to space, such as a Spock emote, a flying saucer glider, "abduction" and black hole-themed "inversion" contrails, and a cute "unzipped" emote that evokes a common alien trope. If you picked up alien artifacts through the season, you could add new styles to a customizable alien skin called Kymera.
Off-screen, Fortnite maker Epic Games has been busy as well. In 2020, Epic protested against both Apple and Google over direct payments for mobile apps. A U.S. District court judge ruled in Epic's favor regarding its Apple lawsuit on Friday (Sept. 12), according to Space.com sister website TechRadar.
That said, the ruling does not stipulate Apple needs to let Fortnite back in the App Store, and did not agree with Epic's allegation "that Apple is an antitrust monopolist in the submarket for mobile gaming transactions," according to the ruling statement. The lawsuit against Google has not been resolved yet.
Fortnite is a veteran of space-themed content long before this current season. For example, last year's Chapter 2 Season 3 included a lengthy ancient astronaut quest, spaceships and tiny rockets. Previous to that, a Millennium Falcon-shaped glider was available to all gamers for free, during December 2019's Winterfest. Fortnite usually releases "Star Wars" themed skins on May 4 ("Star Wars Day", or "May The Fourth Be With You"), although it skipped the opportunity in 2021.
Astronauts began appearing in 2018 during the Chapter 1 Season 3 Battle Pass. Live events in the game have also included a comet, asteroid impacts and even a huge black hole that swallowed the Fortnite map to close Chapter 1, in October 2019.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace