Fortnite MLK Event – Bizarre Crossover and Reactions
Fortnite has been known in recent seasons for its many crossovers and interactive events. The Fortnite metaverse has been an area of the game that has seen huge expansion. Even as a popular Battle Royale game, few would have predicted how wide the scope of Fortnite would become. However, even with all their recent crossovers’ Fortnite’s latest one feels a little weird.
This week has seen Fortnite launch a new event, one celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King.
Compared to past events, it is kind of odd. The Fortnite MLK event and crossover has had a mixed reception, as it is kind of one of the stranger things Epic has done with the game. The event itself aims to be educational. However, many have pointed out how tasteless it appears in places, especially when made part of the overall Fortnite game. This has even lead to his surviving family and related groups weighing in on the topic.
Fortnite MLK Event
The Fortnite MLK crossover is on the surface one of the weirder events Fortnite has ever held. However, this isn’t a standard Fortnite crossover. You can’t equip a skin of Dr. King and use it to crank 90s at Catty Corner. This is a special area where players can go through the content.
The March through Time mode has been set up alongside Time Magazine. Players can walk through areas modeled after Washington DC and watch the iconic I Have a Dream speech from Dr. Martin Luther King. You watch the speech in full and wander around areas with other images and information from the civil rights movement. The mode doesn’t allow normal Fortnite gameplay. However, you’re still pretty likely to find players in strange skins emoting all the other places. In most screenshots, it’s rare to see the screen for the speech set up without also spotting a Rick and Morty skin doing a mocking dance. While there isn’t a skin, you can unlock sprays themed after the event.
When loading into the game mode, you’re probably going to be greeted with tips about headshots doing extra damage before you learn about Martin Luther King Jr. it’s jarring to see the least. Essentially, this is kind of weird. It’s provoked some mixed reactions.
MLK Relatives and Estate Distance Themselves from Fortnite
The event itself has provoked largely confusion and mockery. While the idea behind it is nice enough, the thought of it taking place in Fortnite is really quite tone-deaf. Not everything needs to be part of the Fortnite experience. Those close to Martin Luther King Jr have expressed themselves about it, distancing themselves from the entire event.
Decisions around licensing my father’s intellectual property are outside of my personal purview. https://t.co/Qr1iztjG0h
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 26, 2021
With both the King Center and his surviving relatives seeking to distance themselves from the general weirdness, who actually planned this? As the tweets allude to, this event is being held using the intellectual property of Time Magazine, largely their photographs and recordings of the events. It is Time and Epic who are behind things.
The Fortnite MLK event is weird. It is important to note though that there doesn’t seem to be anything specifically in bad taste. This thing is more weird than it is offensive. However, it does raise some interesting questions about Fortnite’s ‘Metaverse’ future. Developers have talked in the past about desires to push Fortnite in this direction. The constant crossovers do sometimes seem to be coming at the expense of actual new original content. There are still plenty of big tournaments for Streamers to engage in or for Fortnite betting, but the game has become something wider.
Epic’s quick response
The company quickly removed all emotes from the event except those designed specifically for this event. The loading screens are still going to teach you about head shots though. Making Fortnite into a game that educates on top of entertain seems like a reasonable enough idea. However, plenty of these US focused events are largely uninteresting for players outside the states, and only adding to Epic recent creative failures.
Overall, I think the event should best be scrapped as it neither entertains nor educates. The live events are spectacles but do little to help the game’s dropping overall player count. It’ll be interesting to see where Fortnite’s metaverse goes from here, but hopefully, it can avoid such weirdness in the future by paying a bit more attention to how the content it presents jars with Fortnite as a platform, which is still a video game despite its preference for live events lately.