Fortnite is lifting the lid on its story in Chapter 3. The previous chapter already saw an uptick in storytelling, as the narrative focus has been more intense with almost every new season. In Chapter 3, we’re finally learning a lot more about The Seven, the masked heroes who seem to be fundamentally opposed to the Imagined Order, our supposed baddies of the Fortnite storyline. Led by The Foundation (who is played by The Rock), The Seven are intent on saving the day–or so we’ve been led to believe. Personally, I’m not so sure, but to explain why, one must look both in and beyond the game itself.
If you’re unfamiliar with Fortnite lore, here’s the quickest summary I can muster: The island exists within a Loop, which ensures when people (AKA loopers) die on it, they come back to life. This process repeats ad infinitum while at the heart of the island lies the Zero Point, a mysterious but apparently life-sustaining energy orb that must be protected at all costs.
The Imagined Order (IO) and Doctor Slone (its highest-ranking agent we’ve met so far), have seemingly appointed themselves as caretakers of the Zero Point, but they operate from the standpoint that the end justifies the means. Slone’s routine ruthlessness and periodic betrayals remind us of this. She will do whatever it takes to maintain control of the Zero Point.
Juxtaposed, we have The Seven, a group of masked characters who dwelled on the underside of the previous island, Apollo. (Yeah, the island flipped. Long story, and so not relevant here.) We’ve only met four of The Seven so far, but we know that The Foundation is their leader. In Chapter 3, this super-group is still portrayed as the good guys, as they always have been, but lately I question that premise.
In the recent one-shot comic book, Batman/Fortnite: Foundation, we learn that The Seven’s goal, according to The Foundation himself, is to break the Loop once and for all. Now, the Loop is a narrative device that obviously came about secondhand as a way for Epic to provide context for its battle royale mode. You’re not truly looping; you’re just playing a new round of Fortnite. But in-universe, you’re stuck in a never-ending timeloop, and it’s one The Foundation is hellbent on breaking.
Let’s consider the out-of-game ramifications of that goal. If he’s successful, The Foundation would ostensibly dismantle the game’s story justification for rounds and rounds of playtime. A Fortnite story without a Loop means a Fortnite game that is radically altered and no longer allows for replayability. As a result, I don’t foresee this as an attainable goal. The Loop must remain intact, not because The Seven are too weak to break it, but because there is no Fortnite without a Loop.
If we suppose The Foundation’s goal is unobtainable, as I do, then we must also assume that Fortnite is telling a story where the good guys can’t win. If the Loop is bad, the Imagined Order is bad for keeping it intact, and The Seven are good for wanting to destroy it. But I don’t think Epic plans to tell a story where the bad guys win either. and that’s what we’d get if all of these assumptions proved true. It’s too dark for this plot. Fortnite is akin to the MCU; there’s drama and twists, but the good guys always prevail narrowly at the last second. Fortnite won’t end with the bad guys winning, which means what we know of the Loop right now may very well be wrong. So where does that leave us?
Well, what if we suppose the Loop isn’t as bad as The Foundation seems to think it is? It would solve the issue of the good guys’ goal being unattainable in a meta sense. But it also comes with more serious implications. If, in fact, the Loop must be protected at all costs, then The Foundation is misinformed at best and villainous at worst. In that light, Slone’s ruthlessness is still questionable, but it may mean neither the IO nor The Seven are the grand rulers of the Fortnite omniverse, and another level of puppeteers exists well above either group, pulling strings perhaps no one even knows about yet.
I believe what we’re watching unfold is a story of two (possibly ancient) warring factions that each profess to have answers in areas they do not, like the Assassins and Templars of Ubisoft’s flagship series. Slone wants to control the Zero Point (and, by extension, the Loop). The Foundation wants to free loopers by destroying the Loop, which might destroy the all-important Zero Point too. Only Slone’s goal seems realistic on an out-of-game level, so I must assume then that either someone is manipulating The Seven or The Seven are not the heroes they’ve been billed as.
All of this presupposes that the Loop cannot be broken, and admittedly I look only outside of the game for evidence of that. But even if we look inside for hints of The Foundation’s hidden nefariousness, how about the 100-foot tall statue of him that looks over the entire Chapter 3 island. If you agree the Loop can’t be broken, you then must assume either the supposed good guys, The Seven, will fail or that we don’t yet know who the good guys really are. And usually, it’s the bad guys who have statues dedicated to their power.
With more characters we’ve yet to meet, such as Geno and “The Sisters,” it’s obvious we don’t have the whole story yet, so I hope other Fortnite fans chasing the backstory alongside me don’t immediately assume these characters we know so far slide into their apparent roles so smoothly.
Fortnite’s story is full of twists and is planned for years to come. Would Epic be telling us this early where everyone truly stands on the moral scale? I don’t think so, and I think there’s enough evidence even now to question everything we know so far about the island and its inhabitants.