We may be finally arriving at the ultimate event of season 8 of Fortnite, the great excavation of Loot Lake. For weeks now, we have seen two “world events” happening. A helicopter landing at a dozen+ spots around the map, and three different dig sites where players have been asked to chip in and unearth a number of pits, hacking through lumps of dirt with hundreds of millions of HP.
Now, both of those events have combined. The Fortnite helicopter has landed at Loot Lake, and the entire area is now surrounded by a number of steamshovels that sure make it look like we are about to be asked to dig up the entire bottom of the lake.
This, of course, is the famed site of the cube explosion where Kevin disintegrated and became Cubehenge after an otherworldly butterfly cutscene. But we have seen the Cube dissolve into the expanse of an entire lake, back when this was a lake, so I don’t think it’s out of the question that we could see the return of the Cube in some way, which would link what we thought were two disparate storylines, the one started by the comet which led to the Visitor which led to the rocket which led to the Cube, and the one that began when the Ice King showed up with his floating fortress.
So far, all three dig sites have had different end results. The first one gave us a volcano vent. The second flooded the pit with lava. The third revealed a giant metal door in the floor. If we start digging up Loot Lake, it’s anyone’s guess what we could find there, although I have to believe that it probably has something to do with the arrival of Ruin, the Week 8 Discovery skin which we could uh, discovery somehow in this Loot Lake dig.
I’m not exactly sure how this will play out, but it seems like that at least a good chunk of Loot Lake will end up being filled by those breakable dirt patches that players will be asked to chop through. It has taken around a full day to dig out these other sites, so if Loot Lake becomes a much, much bigger site, maybe that could take…a full week of everyone working together? Possibly less, if it’s clear that this is “the big one” so more people could be encouraged to participate.
I am hesitant to bring up the eternal “we’re going to fight a world boss” theory, but…maybe? Fortnite players have expected some sort of world boss fight ever since this ability to track damage across all serves made its way into the game. And possibly even before that when we were seeing monster tracks on the ground as early as season 3. It is possible that we may dig up Ruin or a dragon or something and have to fight it at the end, but I have made this prediction a half dozen times now so I am hesitant to make it again. We’ll see, I guess.
Digging should commence in the next day or two. See you out there.
In case doing a massive Anthem exposé wasn’t enough BioWare news for the week, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has also published a follow-up about the state of Dragon Age 4, which was cancelled and then rebooted in the past few years, and appears to be BioWare’s next main project.
Buried in the massive story is a single line that should give BioWare fans some hope:
“While reporting on [the Anthem story] and then in the days that followed, I learned a lot more about the current state of Dragon Age, one of BioWare’s two tentpole franchises (alongside Mass Effect, which was put on ice in 2017 following the disappointing Mass Effect: Andromeda but has since been warmed back up).”
This is the first I’ve heard about BioWare getting back into Mass Effect other than various winks and nods about the franchise from a few people over there. Granted, whatever is being discussed here is almost certainly years away, but it’s giving players hope all the same. I am a little confused about how BioWare, already struggling in so many ways, is going to juggle Anthem, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and possible Star Wars games EA asks them to make, but that’s an issue for another day.
When we last left Mass Effect, we had just seen the universe dissolve in the wake of Mass Effect Andromeda, which wasn’t a sequel in the traditional sense, but instead a game far removed from the events of the original trilogy, even if it did take place in the same universe (though not the same galaxy). The idea was clearly that this would be its own trilogy, but after poor reception and poor performance, not only were any sequels scrapped, but the game didn’t even get clearly-teased story DLC. It was just…nuked, with only a few sporadic multiplayer updates (ie. the cash generator) once the major fixes were in place.
I don’t think anyone is asking for an Andromeda sequel. I liked the game more than most and would be curious to see some of its plotlines resolved and yet…I think that entire sub-universe is just too tainted at this point to have the glorious return of Mass Effect be Andromeda 2.
As for other options, things are a bit murky. Originally, Andromeda was going to be a prequel about the first contact war between humans and Turians, but fans didn’t seem interested in that, and that still doesn’t sound amazing, given that I think most people want new stories to be told.
The problem is that continuing Shepard’s story, or at least what happens after Shepard’s story ends, is tricky, given the multiple-choice endings of the original trilogy that were so controversial at the time. Controlling the Reapers, destroying the Reapers or synthesizing all organic and synthetic life result in drastically different outcomes for the universe, albeit things we only saw play out in short cutscenes. So where would BioWare go from there?
It feels like they would have to pick an ending, say that it’s canon, and just move on. Shepard did this, the universe is like this now, here’s a new story. I don’t think we can expect them to carry through choices we made in a trilogy that started 12 years ago (probably 15+ by the time this game comes out) so I think fans should be willing to compromise if it means revisiting the same galaxy and possible some of the same characters again.
As for the nature of the game itself, I think it’s pretty clear that fans want a traditional BioWare experience. No live service nonsense. No story told over a months/years-long roadmap rather than being self-contained in the central game (bolstered by substantive DLC, at most). No sacrificing what makes Mass Effect, Mass Effect for the sake of “ongoing revenue streams.” Making sure the game is finished before releasing it, which would have avoided probably 80% of the problems with Mass Effect Andromeda and its meme-worthy release. Even if you’re worried about the end of your fiscal year, guess what? You’re doing more damage to yourself by releasing another bad, broken, unfinished game than you are by giving it more time.
Obviously I’m casting some shade Anthem’s way here, but honestly, if BioWare can get a handle of Anthem’s technical problems, using Anthem as a base for a new Mass Effect game does not sound like a bad idea to me. I would love for aspects of Anthem’s fun and action-oriented combat to make its way into Mass Effect, as Anthem itself is another evolution of Mass Effect’s combat system that was actually at its best in Andromeda. But if Anthem has one thing going for it, it’s javelin gameplay. We may not need jetpacks and iron man suits in a new Mass Effect game, but there’s a lot they could pull from Anthem to make the moment to moment combat as good as the story (would hopefully be).
I am excited about even the potential of a new Mass Effect game, and it never made sense to me why BioWare would shelve arguably its best and most beloved IP just because of Andromeda’s issues. Glad to hear it’s “warming back up” again, and I hope we hear something concrete soon.