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The Real Reason Fortnite Season 3 Got Delayed

Epic Games has announced a third delay for the third season of Fortnite: Chapter 2. Originally, the second season was slated to end on April 30, but it looks like — barring more unexpected events — you should see the new season debut on June 17. In addition, the in-game live event that was scheduled for the end of the current season, "The Device," has also been moved to June 15.

In total, the start of the third season has been delayed about five weeks from its original debut date. The second season began in late February, so it'll have lasted about four months by the time players get to finally move on to Chapter 2 – Season 3. While the theme for the next battle royale season remains unclear, players will be able to experience Location Domination challenges and Storm the Agency challenges to keep them busy until the new season arrives.

But why all the delays? As you know, 2020 has been a tumultuous year so far, and the folks at Epic Games aren't immune. Other gaming companies are feeling the pressure — Sony, for example, delayed its June 4 PlayStation 5 reveal event. Here's the situation with Fortnite: Chapter 2 – Season 3.

Fortnite: Chapter 2 has a bad track record for releasing seasons on time

Fortnite: Chapter 2 has a history of delays at this point. The start of the second season of Chapter 2 got pushed from December 2019 to February 2020. At the time, Epic explained this was to account for an upcoming holiday celebration, including new rewards, features, and live content. 

Epic delayed Chapter 2 - Season 2 again to integrate Unreal Engine's Chaos Physics System into the game, moving the start to late February. Of course, Epic added Overtime Challenges to tide people over for a bit. In the end, players didn't see a whole lot of difference. A seamless integration of Unreal's system mostly meant plenty of work behind the scenes for a few small changes that may manifest more fully in time.

The coronavirus may have caused the first Season 3 delay

Epic announced the first Fortnite: Chapter 2 - Season 3 delay in April 2020, a few weeks before Season 2 was scheduled to conclude. The developer revealed there would be an extension, and that Season 2 would finish on June 4 instead.

While the company did not give a reason for that delay, the announcement happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's probably safe to assume Epic employees were having the same kinds of troubles everyone else was when it came to dealing with the novel coronavirus while working from home. Epic has earned a reputation for its alleged crunch culture, which might have also been a factor.

The developer certainly wasn't the only one experiencing delays and uncertainty in this unexpected environment. The postponement of the new season was disappointing to many but not terribly surprising.

Epic delays Season 3 a second time and unveils "The Device"

At the end of May, Epic let the world know there would be a second delay for the third season of Fortnite: Chapter 2 and pushed back the premiere by a week. That meant Fortnite fans would have to wait until June 11. 

Epic also announced the "The Device" live event, originally scheduled for May 30. Presumably, this helped preserve the developer's standing with fans, who had been patiently waiting for new Fortnite content.

Epic did not reveal why things were being moved once again, just that it wanted to "get everything ready." However, there was some excitement surrounding leaks that suggested "The Device" refers to a doomsday machine being designed by agency boss Midas to rid the game of its ever-churning storm.

Third Season 3 delay announced in response to Black Lives Matter protests

Epic announced the third Season 3 delay in a short statement on June 3.

"Recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color," the post reads. "We're acutely aware of the pain our friends, families, team members, players, and communities are experiencing. We believe in equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, and that these fundamentals are above politics."

According to the statement, the company wants to balance the Season 3 launch with "time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities," and asks for patience and understanding during difficult times.

The protests surrounding the death of George Floyd and other instances of racism and police brutality have clearly taken their toll, as have the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Epic is one of many companies that has shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement through event delays, social media posts, donations, or other methods.