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Fortnite’s newest update expands its Battle Royale map

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Friendly fire turned off, voice chat extended to pre-game lobby

Fortnite’s next update, arriving Thursday, Jan. 18, will expand the game’s Battle Royale map, introducing three new areas to explore along its western border as well as biomes to enhance the environment and give areas a distinctive look. The update is for all platforms — PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

Version 2.2.0 will also extend voice chat to Fortnite’s pre-game lobby. In gameplay, friendly fire in Battle Royale has been deactivated. “This is exploratory and subject to change,” Epic Games wrote in the patch notes. “We will be closely evaluating this and want your feedback!” Friendly fire in Battle Royale has been somewhat controversial, as less scrupulous team members could deliberately kill off teammates in a game type where the object is to be the last one standing.

The rest of the patch includes a slew of tuning, rebalancing, bug fixes and the like. Epic says a new level streaming feature will be introduced, loading the world as the player moves through it, “enabling a richer map and improved performance.” Also, the updated Fortnite reduces the system and GPU memory the application uses.

Save the World, the initial mode of Fortnite, is also getting an update, but it is mainly in the form of balancing and bug fixes to that mode rather than major gameplay changes or introductions.

Fortnite launched in July 2017 adding its Battle Royale mode (also as a stand-alone game) in September. Battle Royale, capitalizing on the popularity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, quickly spiked the player base for Fortnite, topping seven million (across all modes of play) shortly after its introduction. Last month, Fortnite Battle Royale added a 50-on-50 team mode in which players can form squads with up to three friends, and then get roped into an even larger unit of 50.