Epic Games proved they are committed to breaking video game boundaries with their game Fortnite after holding the first ever in-game concert hosted by DJ Marshmello.
The artist, whose real name is Chris Comstock, could be heard announcing the concert to players during matches in the days leading up to the event. The DJ listed that on Feb 2. At 2 p.m. he would host a concert in Pleasant Park, a town in the game. Posters advertising the concert appeared across the Fortnite map and players could unlock a free Marshmello dance if they collected one.
The Fortnite item shop, a marketplace used to buy character skins and dances for your player, was updated with new dance moves made by Marshmello as well as a skin mimicking his iconic costume. Within the days leading up to the concert, a stage could be seen being constructed on a football field in Pleasant Park, that would later be decorated for The Superbowl.
As a fairly regular player of Fortnite, I was anxiously excited about this concert. In the past, large events like this have been plagued by poor-spirited players who kill off others to stop them from experiencing the spectacle. Since the game is based on killing one another, often many players miss out because they die right before the fun happens.
Epic Games put my mind at ease as I parachuted down to the concert and saw that there was no weapons slots or health bars to be seen. They decided to remove weapons and the ability to damage other players. This made for an amazingly heartwarming and fun experience.
The DJ rose from the floor donning the same costume as half the players in the crowd. The music started playing and huge hologram backup dancers dressed in classic Fortnite skins rose above the stage and in the crowd.
It was a strange feeling to be in a concert atmosphere with a DJ telling me to clap my hands and sing along when I was sitting on my couch at home with my girlfriend, yet we couldn’t be more excited about everything that was happening in front of us.
Marshmello instructed players to jump in the air when the beat dropped and just as it did the in-game gravity changed and players shot into the air as fireworks and confetti littered the sky we flew through.
The production value and flow of the concert was amazing and I was blown away with the effort Fortnite took to make the event carry the same emotions and excitement of a real concert.
Rapper Logic made a surprise appearance as a featured artist on “Everyday”, which played halfway into the set. Both artists have had experience with Fortnite before, playing in live streams with professional Fortnite players and even competing in the Fortnite Pro-Am tournament.
The set closed out with Marshmello’s hit single “Happier” featuring Bastille. Gravity once again disappeared and players rose even higher into the air, activating their parachutes and some floating on to the roof of the stage to dance above the DJ. Giant yellow beach balls with emoji-like smiley faces exploded into the air above the set and players bounced them around the venue, mimicking a real-life Marshmello concert.
This was the type of experience not possible in a physical venue. Having giant holograms and low gravity are perks I never thought of when experiencing live music. In hindsight it gives me great hope for what could be achieved in a VR style live concert setting.
The idea that millions of people can simultaneously experience the same live event in a way that satisfies the viewer in a similar way to a physical concert is a really powerful thing I hope gets explored further in the future.