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SYFY WIRE Fortnite

Gaming: Fortnite partying with Steve Aoki & Deadmau5; Jedi: Fallen Order spawns new Star Wars franchise; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Cal Kestis and lightsaber in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

Whoa — talk about a nation of gamers. There are now more people signed up to play Fortnite than there are people living in the entire United States, according to new numbers shared today by Epic Games.

In a tweet announcing what sounds like the first of many more non-gaming events to come set within Fortnite’s new Party Royale zone, Epic also revealed that there are now 350 million registered subscribers signed up for its highly customizable brand of lighthearted run-and-gun mayhem. 

If you’re counting, that’s a solid 20 million more people than are currently estimated to be living in the U.S. — and perhaps a disheartening statistic for any newcomer with eyes firmly set on making it to the top of the battle royale heap.

But hey, it’s not all about being the last one standing in Fortnite anymore. Tapping into the game’s pop culture power as the kind of online “place” where people just come to hang out, the new Party Royale mode — a sort of community club area that sets the weapons aside in favor of a whole slew of non-competitive diversions — is hosting a whopper of a live concert this Friday.

Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, and Dillon Francis are all on board for a virtual concert that Epic teases will indeed be staged as a live performance event — complete with the kind of interactive in-game antics that Fortnite players filled up on earlier this month in Travis Scott’s trippy “Astronomical” show. The three EDM powerhouses will hit the main stage area of the Party Royale map starting at 9 p.m. ET on May 8, with Epic promising an encore presentation on Saturday for anyone who misses out. Logging in early Friday will net players a new, “music-reactive Neon Wings Back Bling” cosmetic for free, so grab those virtual glo-sticks and plan accordingly.

The Force is strong with this one. Players didn’t know it at the time, but last fall’s introduction to Cal Kestis in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was also their introduction to a whole new Star Wars gaming franchise, according to EA Games.

Head honcho Andrew Wilson said on an earnings call this week (via IGN) that Fallen Order is the “first title in an entirely new franchise,” in the process confirming that the super well-received Jedi adventure is only the starting point for a new cycle of Lucasfilm-approved Star Wars lore.

From a business point of view, that makes tons of sense: Fallen Order has sold a reported 10 million copies since its Nov. 15 arrival last year. And it makes sense from a gaming point of view, too: Critics and fans generally loved the brief but faithfully executed dive into Star Wars history, with Fallen Order’s saber-swinging fight through the Jedi-purged aftermath of Order 66.

Fallen Order is still getting fresh updates, the most recent coming in the form of a new battle arena just this week. If you’ve missed out, strap in with Cal and droid buddy BD-1 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

We might as well confess at the outset here: We don’t know what to make of this, all we know is that it’s awesome.

Star Trek veteran Jonathan Frakes has lent his mellifluous narrative pipes to a phony documentary with strong throwback TV vibes for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In a four-minute video framed as a mystery-sleuthing doc, Frakes reprises his TV host stylings from his Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction days (with a dose of Unsolved Mysteries' Robert Stack thrown in) to walk players through the setup to a wild-sounding new phase of PUBG’s Season 7. No further context could possibly help you enjoy this any more, so just give in already:

Mysteries Unknown - Tragedy at Dinoland | PUBG

Freshly launched on April 22, Season 7 takes players back to the snowy island of Vikendi in the Adriatic Sea, bringing with it a new mystery to solve centered on Dinoland, an amusement park on Vikendi that — who knew? — comes with one elaborately crafted and bloody backstory.

Frakes and a cast of actors do a great deadpan job of framing out the silly yet somehow spooky mystery that still lingers around the death of park mascot Alex the T-Rex (did he step in front of that train on purpose?). We didn’t know we needed any extra intrigue to get us amped to hop in the middle of Season 7’s battle royale shenanigans, but now that we’ve seen Alex’s story, dammit, we’re on a mission to get to the bottom of it all. Become your own weapons-wielding detective in PUBG Season 7, available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Android, and iOS.