Welcome to Replay, WIRED’s weekly column devoted to everything gaming. This week, we’ve got a lot of big game announcements in one small package, and a lot of Fortnite. Fortnite never ends, my friends. Even when it does. You’ll see what we mean.
Riot Games Went and Decided to Announce Just, Like, All the Games
For most of its lifespan, Riot Games has been known for one thing: League of Legends. Because it’s their only game. They just make one game. Or they did, until earlier this week, when, during a livestream celebrating the 10th anniversary of League of Legends—and therefore, really, of Riot itself—Riot announced new games. And not just a couple. Like, seven.
First, Riot’s got a League of Legends fighting game coming out, codenamed Project L. No word on a release date, but it’s in progress. Project A is also coming, and it’s a tactical multiplayer first-person shooter, in a whole new setting not at all related to League of Legends. Again, no release date or anything. Then there’s a management simulation game, à la, say, Football Manager or those modes in every Madden game, but you’re managing a fictional esports League of Legends team. Really. It’s called Esports Manager, and it’s coming in 2020. There’s also a card game, because, of course. Oh, and there’s Legends of Runeterra, starting up beta stuff now. And there’s the mysterious Project F, which is something, apparently.
And we didn’t even get into the TV show. Or the mobile ports. Really, Riot is going hard out here.
Fortnite Is Dead. Long Live Fortnite
This past weekend, Fortnite players were greeted with a remarkable, bizarre sight. They saw their beloved game—an island full of guns and rickety towers—pulled into an event horizon at the apex of the world. Fortnite disappeared into a black hole, and it sat there—unplayable, inert, beyond approach—for days.
Now Fortnite has been resurrected, with a clean slate, as Fortnite Chapter 2. The new version is a simplified, streamlined, overall ease-of-use update to the game, great for new and old players alike. But that’s not what’s exciting. What is exciting is that, for a couple days, Epic Games took their biggest moneymaker, one of the most popular games in the world, and just deleted it. They yeeted Fortnite into goshdanged space. It was riveting, and we loved every second of it.
Lady Gaga: But What Is Fortnite, Though?
But Fortnite, as prominent as it is, still isn’t quite a household name. At least not in all households. And as one measure of fame, we know how big Fortnite isn’t. It ain’t Lady Gaga big.
We know this due to two of the funniest tweets we’ve seen in recent memory. As recapped by Kotaku, Lady Gaga asked her followers a question that, after the whole black hole game deletion thing went viral, probably seemed pretty urgent: “What’s fortnight?”
And then, after Ninja replied, suggesting he show her, Lady Gaga expressed equivalent confusion, replying, simply, “who are you.” Who indeed, Lady Gaga, who indeed. We’ll know games really are big when even our most bizarre pop stars are building stuff in Minecraft.
Recommendation of the Week: Tomb Raider, by Crystal Dynamics, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Before the rebooted Lara Croft series dove into self-indulgence and an increased delight in suffering, there was Tomb Raider. Held together in large part by Rhianna Pratchett’s sharp character writing, this 2013 reboot of the classic exploration-action series is a story of a Lara Croft who comes through a crucible of suffering and comes out a stronger, albeit pretty traumatized, person. It’s a slick, fun little action adventure title, worthy of its pedigree. Maybe skip the sequels.
More Great WIRED Stories
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/riot-games-announcements