Fortnite Season 5 is finally here -- here are the biggest changes

Epic Games

“Fortnite: Battle Royale’s” newest Battle Season is here, and it’s a doozy.

In Fortnite, the changing of seasons brings a new theme to the game’s Battle Pass, and often many cosmetic changes to the map. For example, in the days leading up to the beginning of Season 4, the game hinted that a meteor shower would change the island forever. When the meteor did hit, it caused a large crater in the enter of the map, turning Dusty Depot into the craterous Dusty Divot.

This time around, a one-time in-game event – involving a rocket launch and rifts in the space-time continuum – was a signal to players that this new Season would include massive changes to the island, and that transition to Season 5 would be the biggest one yet.

Here’s what’s new in Fortnite today:

Season 5 is here! As expected, the rifts have played a pivotal role in this season’s introduction, and will likely continue to provide players with more surprises in the weeks to come.

Check out the trailer for Season 5:

Once you drop into the game today, you’ll immediately notice that Season 5 has brought some major changes. Perhaps the most obvious is that the landscape in the southeastern side of the map is now entirely desert.

Epic Games

Moisty Mire is now officially Paradise Palms, a sandy desert complete with cactuses, tumbleweeds, and lots of palm trees.

Epic Games

It’s likely that Paradise Palms is at least somewhat inspired by resort destination Palm Springs, California, especially given Epic Game’s recent decision to plant a real-life replica of the Durr Burger in the California desert last week.

Dusty Divot has also undergone some noticeable changes. The entire crater is now filled in with trees.

Epic Games

Each new season comes with many small changes to the map, and I’m sure we’ll continue to spot new Easter eggs and developments in the upcoming weeks.

One of the biggest additions is the game’s first four-person vehicle, in the form of an “all terrain” golf cart.

Epic Games

The Fortnite patch notes, published by creators at Epic Games today, calls these “All Terrain Karts,” but I think that name might give them a little too much credit. They are, after all, just golf carts.

They’re not all that much faster than the shopping carts, and tip over quite easily. Although, I was using the Nintendo Switch while trying one out, so I was definitely more prone to over-correcting on the steering than a person playing on PC might be.

However, the carts are really quiet, which is a nice change from lots of other battle royale games, in which riding in a loud vehicle will immediately give your position away.

And finally, the rifts are coming into play.

Sceenshot / Business Insider

For the first time since their introduction two weeks ago in the wake of the rocket launch that nearly took out Tilted Towers, players can interact with the “rifts” – that is, small cracks in the space-time continuum.

The rifts seem to work like portals or wormholes. Once a player enters a rift by simply walking up to it, they will be teleported up into the sky and apparently spat back out by another.

Screenshot / Business Insider

The rifts will always drop you just above the same area where you entered the rift, so this isn’t quite a long-distance travel solution, but it is really fun and could be helpful for making a quick escape in times of need.

The rifts seem to be scattered around the island randomly, but I found at least three all on the edge of Loot Lake.

The new season has also ushered in a whole new series of skins and cosmetics for Battle Pass holders, including the central character from the Season 5 trailer.

Epic Games

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