If there is one thing you can say FortniteLive events is that they are getting more and more ambitious. From the launch of the original rocket to the mech vs kaiju battle at the black hole that wiped out an entire island, each new event is more elaborate than the last. Now we can say that the same goes for concerts. Last year, the Marshmello show was a dynamic and exciting example of what a virtual concert might look like. This week’s performance by Travis Scott brought him out of the water.
Epic had set the stage for the concert last weekend – literally. Over the past few days, players have seen a scene under construction on Sweaty Sands Beach, and it has grown more full over the days. There was a black scene above the water and several Travis Scott inflatable gold heads around it.
As with past events, the pre-broadcast was a bloodbath, with players killing each other for a while. (Fortunately, spawns were in place.) When the show started, players could see a strange planet-like object floating towards them on a circular screen; when he got close enough, everything exploded and the performance started correctly.
Really, the whole Fortnite the island was the scene. During the opening song, giant Scott stepped around the island, while players could run on the water to glimpse. As the tracks have changed, the visuals have changed. At one point, everything was fiery and Scott turned into a cyborg; later it seemed like everyone had been transported to Tron. When “the top of the room” appeared, the crowd was overwhelmed, with a giant astronaut. There were roller coasters and psychedelic effects and in the end, the players literally flew around the planet.
The whole thing was short, about 15 minutes long. But what I liked was that it was the kind of experience that could only exist in a virtual space like this. Yes, live concerts have become more sophisticated, as anyone who has seen an IRL Travis Scott arena show can attest. But they don’t let you float in the air while a rapper the size of Godzilla crosses an ocean.
Epic also appears to have learned from past events and concerts. On the one hand, once the show started, the game’s user interface was automatically deactivated, which gives you a better view of the exciting visuals. The developer also limited the emotes that players could use to keep things branded. I couldn’t do kitty dancing or anything stupid; instead, I could headbang or rage with a flaming microphone stand. In a nice touch, you didn’t need to have these emotes to use them during the concert.
Perhaps the smartest thing Epic did was tour it instead of a concert. While all the previous Fortnite the events were unique, Scott’s concert I attended was the first of five. If you missed it, there are many other chances to enter. (For more on how to watch, see our guide.) It opens the event to a wider audience around the world.
Marshmello’s concert last year was a huge success; more than 10 million people attended, according to Epic, making it FortniteThe biggest event ever organized. With several shows, a more elaborate performance, a bigger name artist and a captive audience trapped inside without doing anything, the virtual tour of Travis Scott has the potential to exceed that. The question is really how much more surreal Epic can make its next series of digital concerts.