To many people, Fortnite is a fun, free-to-play battle royale game. However, to dedicated players, it’s a complex, ever-evolving world with a mind-bending sci-fi storyline. Nothing encapsulates this view better than the loop, a strange concept that has been hinted at across the past 15 seasons. What is the loop? And what insight might loop theory provide to explain how the world of Fortnite works?
Fortnite Loop Theory | What is the loop?
The “loop” in Fortnite refers to the revolving series of elements that both appear and take place on the island. These people, places, things, and events are “looping” in the sense that they’re experienced by all players within all matches. The resulting loop theory ties into Fortnite’s ever-expanding storyline, and helps explain why the island can remain static at times and then change drastically in others.
It’s very hard to describe what the loop is with any sense of certainty. Loop theory is something of a new part of the Fortnite equation, though the first notable clues of its existence appeared during the events of Chapter 1 Season 3. Every season since has given a bit more detail about what the loop could be, but matters are still far from clear.
To get a better understanding of the concept, a history lesson is in order.
Season 4 and The Visitor’s escape
The first specific mention of the loop was in Fortnite Chapter 1 Season 4. The events of Season 3 saw a meteor landing on the island, wiping out Dusty Depot, and changing many parts of the landscape. Throughout Season 4, there was an effort to excavate the meteor after the discovery that something or someone was inside.
It was later revealed that The Visitor was inside the meteor, trapped in a space pod. This mysterious stranger seemed to have ill intent, and following his well-timed escape, he fashioned a prop rocket into a sort of rocket/time machine hybrid.
At the end of the season (during the Blast Off event), The Visitor launched the rocket into the atmosphere, then sent it hurtling back toward the island. His rocket managed to tear open a rift in space and time, merging the world of Fortnite with another dimension entirely.
Kevin the Cube and the In-Between
Following the rift torn open by The Visitor, a strange purple cube appeared over the island. This cube would later be given the name Kevin by fans. Kevin the Cube changed even more of the island, destroying nearby plants and imprinting runes across the land.
Before long, lightning was striking these runes, and Kevin began glowing brightly. Eventually, after all of the runes were activated, Kevin’s power reached its peak, and it shot a beam of light into the sky, spawning another portal. Afterward, Kevin’s power seemed to be draining into the vortex below, and its outer shell started to tear apart.
At the end of Season 6, the last of Kevin’s power was drained. In a flash of light, its detonation drew players through a rift into a new dimension that became known as the In-Between. As the name implies, the In-Between is neither here nor there, not being part of the world of Fortnite nor the world outside of it. After a short cutscene, players were then dropped back into the island.
Season 8, the Vault, and the Zero Point
Following the events of Season 7, military outposts appeared on the island, and great interest was shown in the bunker at Loot Lake. During the Unvaulting Event, it was revealed that digs underneath the bunker had uncovered a huge metal structure known as the Vault.
This discovery kicked off a series of research efforts and digs to uncover the purpose of the Vault. Eventually, it was discovered that the Vault housed the dimension known as the In-Between. And in an even bigger reveal, the In-Between was shown to be the resting place of an immense source of power known as the Zero Point.
The Zero Point later formed a crucial part of the Season 9 story arc, where players learned that a giant monster was housed under the cracking remains of Polar Peak. The tremendous robot known as Mecha was able to defeat the monster partly thanks to the power of the Zero Point. However, the Zero Point was cracked, and it exploded between the the end of Season 9 and the start of Season 10.
Season 10, the Black Hole, and The End
The explosion of The Zero Point had a noticeable affect on Jonesy, who had jumped into a bunker prior to the Mecha battle. However, at the start of Season 10, he’d been changed, having grown long hair, a beard, and applied tattoos. He clearly spent a lot of time in that bunker, and emerged to a world he did not recognize.
The breaking of the Zero Point seemed to have broken the timeline, and introduced a number of elements both old and new. Curiously, it also brought back the meteor from Season 4. However, one critical element was changed: The meteor was shown stuck, frozen in the sky. True to form, the season would later explain that the crack in the Zero Point had caused instabilities in space and time, which resulted in the reappearance of elements from prior seasons.
However, at the end of Season 10, the figure known as The Scientist — an alternate-dimension version of The Visitor — managed to design and launch another version of his rocket. This time when the rocket launched, it formed a rift, and that rift also spawned a new rocket. The process continued to repeat, with each of these rifts spawning a new rocket, until all of the rifts converged at a point just below the meteor’s impact point.
Slowly but surely, the rockets drew the meteor into a massive rift at the previous impact point. The meteor then emerged from a rift in the atmosphere, and came crashing down to the island right atop the Zero Point. The resulting explosion created a black hole, devouring all players, the island, and even the game itself. This became known as The Blackout, and Fortnite was unplayable until the start of Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 and the reveal of the loop
Chapter 2 kicked off with an entirely new island, and gradually unfolded a plot hatched by Midas (a member of The Agency) to destroy the Storm that constantly shrunk during Fortnite matches. Midas’ device was deployed at the end of Chapter 2, pushing back the forces of the Storm. During the cataclysm, players were eventually transported outside the realm of the island, beyond the In-Between, and into an office for one John Jones.
During the time in this office, players can hear conversation relating to the Storm. Spoken words state that the Storm is “not just a storm,” but something that “must be connected to the loop.” This is the first earnest reveal of what the loop in Fortnite is and how it functions in the game’s universe.
In a later cutscene, John Jones walks into view, revealing to the player that he is identical to Jonesy. Jones is surprised to see the player there, wondering how they may exist or even if they’re capable of understanding him. However, before any pressing questions can be raised, the player returns to the now-flooded island.
So just what is the Loop?
Given all of the evidence so far, the loop can best be explained as a function of the Zero Point. The world of Fortnite is dependent upon the Zero Point, which has the power to dramatically alter the island and its inhabitants. It’s also crucially able to control the loop of time, which is how it can cause the appearance or reappearance of items, places, and characters.
The Zero Point is so powerful that it’s often sought out by external forces, such as Galactus at the end of the Nexus War event. When the Zero Point is destabilized, so is the loop — and it’s at those times when new changes arrive in Fortnite.
In a sense, the Zero Point maintains the loop. In another sense, the loop helps stabilize the Zero Point. Either way, the loop itself allows the world of Fortnite to exist across multiple timelines, or even multiple dimensions. But what’s so far unclear is how the Zero Point came to be, or who is in control over the loop it powers.
For now, these are question we cannot answer. We know that Jonesy exists outside of the world of Fortnite, or at least outside the influence of the loop. But his organization is acutely aware of the loop, and seems to have some influence over the factors that control it. Beyond these details, we only have theories. Thankfully, there’s no doubt that Epic Games will give us more clues as the rest of Chapter 2 unfolds.