Fortnite’s Season 10 launched this morning. Besides bringing back past location Dusty Depot and changing up the battle pass, the new season added mechs to the game. The mechs require two players to pilot, and they look big and dangerous. They’re probably a lot of fun to play, though I wouldn’t know—they keep wrecking me before I can get into them.
The new mechs, called B.R.U.T.E.S, appear at random on Fortnite’s island. Once they spawn, their starting positions appear on the map, and they’re indicated on the ground by plumes of smoke. According to today’s patch notes, one player controls the mech’s movement, while the other controls its weapons. That’s easier with two players, but technically, one player can pilot a Brute solo by switching between the two seats. A Brutes can stomp on objects and players, perform a charged jump, and honk its horn. On the weapon side of things, it has a shotgun that does 50 damage and a missile launcher that can fire up to 10 missiles at once. The Brute can also self-destruct and has a mechanic called “overshield,” which lets it consume 200 materials to overcharge its shields. The video below gives a good overview of how the Brutes work.
I didn’t get any first-hand experience inside a Brute, but not for lack of trying. Brutes are new, so players are eager to try them out. The mechs made for hot landing spots in all the matches I played today. In one of my first matches of the day, other players grabbed the mech before I could. I hid in a nearby building and watched it storm across the map, taking a few potshots at it before running away. In another match, two squadmates and I teamed up to destroy a Brute, which has 1000 health. We darted around, firing and reloading, until it exploded in a noisy, fiery ball. In a match I spectated, a squad got hold of the Brute in the late game and quickly cleared the lobby of remaining players, jumping their way to high ground and using the missile launcher to explode enemies’ cover.
In my last match of the day, I actually thought I was going to be the first to reach a Brute. I’d almost landed on top of it when two opposing players grabbed it out from under me. Not to be deterred, I chased them up a hill, whacking at the Brute with my pickaxe. Another teammate joined me, though they were quickly downed. I was downed not long after, and my health ticked away as I watched the Brute stomp off to wreak havoc on the survivors.
Along with adding Brutes, Season 10 vaults two vehicles, the quad crasher and the baller, as well as vaulting glider redeploy in the main battle royale mode. The rideable driftboard is still available. Epic explained its reasoning in the patch notes, writing, “Over time, we have added many mobility options, both itemized and map-based. We feel that Season X is better experienced with a reduction in mobility. As with all changes, we’ll keep a close eye on how this affects the player experience.” Ballers had a big effect on Fortnite’s late-game strategy, and Brutes are likely to do the same, judging from the players I spectated turning the end-game tide with their mech.
On Reddit, some players are calling for the Brute to be sequestered into a limited-time mode, worrying about what its ability to wreck buildings and player-made structures will mean for the game. “It’s not fun to go up against!,” one player on Reddit wrote. “It ruins games as the missiles destroy buildings so quickly and will kill you faster than anything you can think of!” Other players appreciate the Brute’s ability to farm materials from structures you destroy and the fact that it can perform emotes. Some wonder what will happen if an enemy player jumps into the Brute along with you in solo mode, with a few worrying it would be considered teaming, which is against Fortnite’s rules. Others point out that you can use the Brute’s self-destruct feature for an easy kill in this instance.
As with every new item in Fortnite’s constant avalanche of new items, Brutes will have an adjustment period. It’s possible that there will be some tinkering on Epic’s part if the Brute proves to be overpowered. While I definitely saw the Brutes’ destructive potential, I had a lot of fun trying to take them down and even enjoyed running from them in terror. I tend to play Fortnite for the exciting stories rather than for high-level strategy, so I enjoy the new mechs, but I can see how that wouldn’t be true for all players. We’ll see how things play out as the season unfolds, as well as if I’ll ever actually get to pilot a mech myself. In the meantime, we’ll always have Titanfall.