Fortnite fans have spotted a sneaky Lord of the Rings Easter egg in the game, sparking speculation of a new crossover.
The potential tease can be found on one of the beaches on the Fortnite island, where a small-scale replica of the Helm’s Deep castle can be seen.
Is this a sneak peek of a future collaboration, perhaps timed to coincide with Amazon’s upcoming $1 billion Lord of the Rings prequel TV show? Or is this developer, Epic Games, just having fun?
To start with, let’s take a look at the Easter egg itself. Epic Games has been slowly building up this little castle over the course of the last season, through subtle changes to the map in recent months.
With each patch, Epic likes to reward long-term Fortnite fans with small changes to their map, complete with inside jokes, and long-running backstories. (The castle in question here is actually the creation of the Rock Kid, whose stone family has appeared on the map since Chapter 1.)
Epic is currently teasing a Lord of the Rings collaboration on the island!
The Rock Kid is building this on the beach right now, and there are a LOT of similarities between this sandcastle and a LotR castle!
— Shiina (@ShiinaBR) August 19, 2022
I like to check in with the Rock Family on every update and I noticed that the Rock Kid was building this little castle battle scene, little by little. But it’s only in the latest update, with the destruction of the castle wall, that fans seem to have figured out what all of this was building on.
It certainly looks like Helm’s Deep, but does this mean a full-scale Fortnite crossover with Middle-earth? In this, things seem a little less likely.
For starters, the rights to The Lord of the Rings have traditionally been held by Warner Bros, which notably hasn’t released any new DC characters in Fortnite since it began promoting its own crossover game, Multiversus.
Then there’s the topic in this week’s news that Embracer was buying The Lord of the Rings and all things Middle-earth. That deal hasn’t been finalized yet, but it’s safe to say that video game rights to Tolkien’s world are currently up in the air.
In fact, previous references to Gandalf’s arrival in Multiversus have been removed. Could this mean that Epic Games has swooped in instead, blinding Warner Bros? Or has Gandalf’s arrival simply been delayed while new contracts are signed? (Remember: an assistant is always on time.)
Adding fuel to the flames, reliable Fortnite leaker MidaRado has said today that one of the three collaborations will be released in-game next week. Lord of the Rings is one option, followed by Family Guy (an epic long-term tease that appears to have been an attempt to lead dataminers astray), and then Doom.
Of the three, and Helm’s Deep castle notwithstanding, Doom seems the most likely. It’s currently QuakeCon weekend, Bethesda promotions are ongoing through the Epic Game Store, and Doom is set to make a comeback in the publisher’s Fall Guys. We’ll see next week for sure.