Fortnite returned to its map circa 2018 (or Chapter 1 Season 5 if you prefer to measure time that way) last Friday, reviving locations like Tilted Towers, Loot Lake and Greasy Grove and unlocking the battle royale game’s vaulted weapons, vehicles and items in a four-week nostalgic event dubbed Season OG. As it turns out, with the old map and items came a whole lot of players, setting a new all-time concurrent player record for the multiplayer shooter that surpasses even its previous heights in the pop-culture zeitgeist.
44.7 million people played Fortnite on November 4th, devs Epic Games announced on Twitter, calling Saturday “the biggest day in Fortnite’s history” – surpassing a crossover event with Marvel in December 2020 that saw 15.3 million concurrent players battle against comic-book baddie Galactus. Also up there in Fortnite’s records is the in-game concert for Travis Scott’s Astronomical, which recorded 12.3 million concurrent players in April 2020.
The popularity of Season OG led to increased queue times when logging in, with Fortnite’s official status account saying that the team were monitoring the health and capacity of servers due to the boom in players. Those 44.7 million players apparently racked up 102 million hours of play time for good measure, too.
Season OG runs just four weeks – much shorter than the typical three-month span of a new Fortnite season – with each week moving the map, weapon selection and vehicles onto a new season of Chapter 1. The opening tribute to Season 5 (aka the Shopping Cart & Pump Shotgun era) will last until November 9th, which will bring back elements from Season 6 (aka Quad Bikes & Six Shooters, my favourite country music album).
Way to start things off with a big bang 💥
We’re blown away by the response to #FortniteOG. Yesterday was the biggest day in Fortnite’s history with over 44.7 MILLION players jumping in and 102 MILLION hours of play.
To all Fortnite players, OG and new, THANK YOU!
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) November 5, 2023
November 16th will combine Seasons 7 and 8 into one update, with a frosty return for the X-4 Stormwing plane and the nautical combo of the Pirate Cannon and Flint-Knock Pistol. Fo-ARRRRRR-tnite, I guess you could say.
Then the blast from the past will end with Seasons 9 and X in the mix from November 23rd, bringing back the gerbil ball-like Baller, jetpacks and Junk Rift. Someone less mature than me might say you’ll be playing with both Balls & Junk.
Alongside the short season is a speedy battle pass with half the usual number of levels at 50, and an Item Store with a more limited selection (to match how it was back in the day) of cosmetics inspired by classic Fortnite unlocks.