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Fortnite season 6 gets spooky with new pets and big map changes

"Darkness rises" in Fortnite's latest major update.

Epic Games has officially launched season 6 of Fortnite: Battle Royale with big new locations to discover, a new item that turns you into a wraith, and adorable pets that cling to your back as you play. But don't let the cute pets fool you. The overall theme to season 6 is appropriately spooky as we approach Halloween.

Floating islands, creepy castles and the bunker

There are a few new spots to land on the island with lots to explore. For starters, if you were wondering what was next for the recently bouncy Loot Lake, we now have the answer. The magic of the purple cube has somehow made the island in the center of the lake rise up into the air to become a floating island -- house and all. 

And you won't even have to build up to the house to explore it. The area is surrounded by a purple vortex that will draw you up to the island simply by walking into it. While we haven't exhaustively explored it yet, it's clear the floating island will make the endgame extremely interesting if the storm closes there during a match.

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The island is surrounded by a vortex that will send you floating up to the top.

Jason Parker/CNET

There's also now a creepy-looking castle high on the mountain above Haunted Hills, giving you a new place to drop in and gather loot. This will definitely make things crowded for a while as people get their first look, but at least it gives more reason for players to head to that part of the map as the season progresses. 

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The spooky castle on the hill has tons of rooms and towers to loot.

Epic Games

The third new location isn't quite so easy to find. Remember the mysterious bunker with no entrance in Wailing Woods? You still can't enter the bunker itself, but from the fort at the center of the maze, you can drop down a shaft to a sprawling multi-level complex underground. The theme down there looks a lot like the interior of the mountain where the rocket took off during season 5, with research equipment, banks of computers and other laboratory decor.

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The complex under the maze is quite large, with three levels and several rooms.

Jason Parker/CNET

Other changes around the map include corn fields that have grown tall in Fatal Fields (great for providing cover) and tons of other changes Epic says we'll have to see for ourselves.

Introducing Shadow Stones

You might remember how the Fortnite Cube would occasionally print runes on the ground as it traveled around the map, leaving low gravity areas in its wake. Sadly, the low-grav areas are gone, but in their place are corrupted areas with strange rune-covered cubes called Shadow Stones. If you consume one, it turns you into a shadowy wraith-like ghost. 

The Shadow Form state only lasts for a short time, but enables you to run faster, jump higher and lets you jump through walls. If you remain still, it also makes you invisible to other players. The only problem is, while in motion, you're very visible and vulnerable if people try to shoot you, and --while in the form -- you can't use your guns. The Shadow Form is going to be a game-changer when storm circles close on these areas, and it'll be exciting to see how players use it to their advantage in a match.

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Epic Games

And Fortnite pets!

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Epic Games

Pets have also been added to the game in season 6 as a back bling (backpack) decoration. There are three different pets, including a little pooch, a blue dragon and a cute gecko. All three can be unlocked with the Battle Pass and will react to things you do in the game. For example, jumping from a tall height will show them fear for their lives as you drop.

v6.0 patch notes highlights

The patch notes for the season 6 update include tons of tweaks: weapon balance changes, changed circle closure times, the return of the "drum gun" and several other bug fixes. Here are the full patch notes, but you can check out some highlights below:

  • New Locations
    • Floating Island
    • Corrupted Areas
    • Corn Fields
    • Haunted Castle
    • Drop in and find the rest in-game!
  • Custom Controller Bindings
    • Choosing your configuration has changed to a selector on the left side of the menu.
      • After selecting Custom, the right side of the menu becomes buttons that are selectable. When a button is clicked, it opens a list of actions that can be assigned to that button.
      • Mode selection (Combat, Build) has changed to selectable by triggers. When in either Combat or Build mode, the actions for that mode and the actions that span between modes will appear in the "actions list" to select from.
  • Console - Input-Based Matchmaking
    • Players using a keyboard and mouse on PS4 will now be put into the PC matchmaking pool.
    • Start matchmaking with your preferred input device. You will be queued with the input type you press the "Play" or "Ready" button with.
      • If you start matchmaking with a keyboard and mouse, then you'll be queued in the PC matchmaking pool. However, you'll be able to switch to a controller mid-match if you'd like.
      • If you start matchmaking with a controller, then you'll remain in your platform's normal queue. However, you'll be unable to switch to a keyboard and mouse mid-match.
    • PC players are unaffected by this change. If you use a controller on PC then you'll remain in the PC matchmaking queue.

Check back here for updates on the most recent changes, and follow along with our season 6 guide here for even more updates as Epic continues to tinker with Fortnite.