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Fortnite’s map is being struck by lightning and now there’s a giant mystery cube

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There might be a big Fortnite event today. Or not?

Lightning hits Fortnite’s map TheMrMattie/Reddit

Fortnite’s meta-story of events and characters that impact the game’s map is heating up again, as the rifts in the sky have begun to spit out lightning bolts that hit the ground on square H9 on the map. Fans now think it could all be leading to an in-game event that’s taking place later today.

Players first noticed the lightning strikes yesterday, with streamers witnessing a few while they were broadcasting gameplay.

Remember when players were tasked with collecting lightning bolts as a challenge earlier in the season? In retrospect, that might have been a tease about what was coming.

The lightning is hitting at regular intervals, although those intervals seem to be speeding up. Players are also reporting that the strikes are destroying a cactus in the game every four hours, which may be giving us a hint about when an in-game event is going to take place.

“Every time a cactus gets destroyed lightnings come faster,” one player wrote on the game’s subreddit. “It was every 15min and then at 8:04am EDT / 2:04pm CEST another cactus got destroyed and it’s every 7min 30seconds now. They reduced it by half.”

So what does that mean for any hypothetical in-game event?

“In theory a cactus gets destroyed every 3 hours, so next time it will speed up again at 11:04am EDT / 5:04pm CEST,” the post continues. “And then the final cactus will be destroyed at 2:04pm EDT / 8:04pm CEST.”

We don’t know what, if anything, happens at that point. In the meantime, players have begun to sacrifice themselves to the lightning, because Fortnite is a strange game.

Update: Something happened. After a series of lightning strikes, one very powerful bolt of energy delivered a new mystery to Fortnite’s map: a large purple cube.

The Cube
Austen Goslin/Polygon

Here’s Fortnite streamer Ninja seeing it spawn in real-time — in the middle of a Summer Skirmish match, no less.

What does the cube do? It appears to be emblazoned with a series of symbols that visibly glow when players approach it. It also slowly fills players’ shields if they’re close enough to it. But don’t get too close, or try to attack it, as it will knock players back if they touch it and strike them with a potentially fatal bolt of energy if they shoot it. The strange symbols that appear on the cube also appear in the kill feed if the cube kills a player.

Now for the next mystery: what’s inside.