A few weeks before Season 2 of Chapter 4 of Fortnite came out, there were reports that a "Neo Tokyo"-style futuristic city would be added with the new season. I thought it was cool that Neo Tilted Towers was coming back, but I was wrong. Mega City is much bigger than anything else we've seen in Fortnite. It is more sprawling than Tilted.
Is this a good thing? Well, it's the first place on the Fortnite island that feels like Epic thought about Zero Build when they made it. Mega City has a lot of tall buildings, but most of the insides are locked, which makes the number of places you could get shot from much smaller. (Personally, this is one way in which I preferred Tilted. Access to multiple floors, stairwells and rooms is a good thing.) Mega city has some major infrastructure, like grind rails and three or four different vertical ziplines on each building and a car or motorcycle on every corner.
If you also have a Kinetic Blade? What about the Aerialist add-on? Mega City is where you play.
Even though Zero Build was added at the beginning of Chapter 3 Season 2, it's taken time for Epic to change its design philosophy to account for it. Mega City is the culmination of everything the team has learned over the past year about how to design the game for Zero Build.
What was wrong with Fortnite's old "cities"?
Most of last year, Chapter 3 had two urban environments: Tilted Towers, which was in the middle of the map, and The Daily Bugle, which had three New York City high-rises inside the mouth of a volcano. Both of these were filled with standard Fortnite buildings. This means that the insides were full, and the buildings could be taken apart completely. YES!!! Bring back cow plates and let me at Mega City! Let me turn that thing in to a parking lot.
At least the tops of The Bugle's buildings had bouncy spider webs to help you get up there, but Tilted Towers was just a square of flat land with tall, maze-like buildings, and the only safe way to get down from the roof was to take the stairs. It was the kind of place that only the sweats in your lobby could love. Own TT, and tear it down with a cow plate to score yourself a King’s ransom in loot. No such joy to be found in MC.
Titled was a legacy town, and it was built so that people could build their own stairs or walls if they needed to. But because you couldn't do that, the place was torture for your mind. No matter where you were in Tilted Towers, it felt like there were an endless number of places to get shot and not enough ways to respond when you were caught off guard.
And it wasn't that rare to drive up to Tilted and find that someone had flattened everything and turned the area into a parking lot. And while that was always funny, it wasn't good for the game to have a huge square with no cover in it. This wasn't a problem in Build mode, but it needed to be fixed in Zero Build. I’m not sure the correct fix is to do away with it completely. How about a mixture of breakable and indestructible items (to leave some but not all ground cover for ZB).
How the look of Fortnite slowly changed for Zero Build
After Epic added Zero Build in Chapter 3 Season 2 (at the same time that it vaulted the Spider-Man Web-Shooter Mythic, which was funny), the game's style changed slowly over the next year to better fit it. The previous season had added mantling and sprinting, and the first season added sliding. We also had Shockwave Grenades for sweaty moving, but it still felt like the map was only made for Build Mode for the next two seasons. Build mode is the core foundation on which Fortnite is built. Exploring new modes is cool, but don’t do a disservice to the start of it all.
During Season 3, the Dragon Ball Z Cloud Mythic changed everything by showing us how important it was for Zero Build to have a useful fast-movement tool that anyone can use, unlike those Shockwave Grenades, which were high-skill tools that were hard for ordinary players to figure out how to use well.
Even though Season 4's Chrome blobs weren't a great way to get around, Epic did add some really cool ways to move around the whole map, like those balloons that pulled up a number of buildings. You could use those balloons like a rapid jump pad to get high in the air and move quickly from one end of the map to the other. They were also a lot of fun.
Chapter 4: Season 1 didn't have much in the way of movement infrastructure, other than the jump pads in every snow fortress in the north, but it made up for that with the Shockwave Hammer, which was basically a recharging Shockwave Grenade that anyone could use to move around and hurt enemies. Even though the Hammer is a good thing for Zero Build, it might have been even better as a source of chaos in Build Mode. Nothing destroys enemy buildings faster than someone jumping around with a big Hammer.
Mega City or Mega Flop?
Chapter 4 Season 2 is the first time that all of Epic's new and better ideas about how players move come together in Mega City. It starts with the Kinetic Blade, which is better than the Hammer (at least for now) because you can jump higher straight up with it. But even if you don't have one of those cool swords, Mega City is designed to give you a fighting chance no matter what you're up against.
There are grind rails that go all over the city, and each building has at least three ziplines that can take you up to or down from the roofs. If you're on a grind rail and jump off, you won't take damage from falling, so if you get up on one of those roofs and find a full squad, you can always just jump on a rail, jump off, and let yourself free fall safely. And once you're on the ground, you can lose your attackers by ducking into a parking garage or running through a restaurant. Mega City's ground level is like a maze.
Having an inaccessible space between the bottom and top of each building makes Mega City look like two different, but close, places: one with floating islands in the sky, and one on the ground below it. And that makes fighting in the city a lot more focused because you don't have to think about every possible angle like you did in Tilted Towers. When you're on the ground and look up, you don't have to check every window in every big building for targets. Instead, you can focus on a few key places. In this way, the new sniper scope glint for this season helps you focus. This was a long-needed change.
With that infrastructure in place and a more focused design philosophy, you have the tools to escape even the scariest landings, even if someone else swoops in and takes the gun you were trying to drop on. But when you get your Kinetic Blade and the only must-have augment this season, the Aerialist, which lets you use your flyer whenever you're more than a few feet off the ground, Mega City becomes a real playground that you can zip around like a superhero. And there's so much stuff in it that you won't get bored hanging out there for the whole game.