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‘Rise of Skywalker’ and ‘Fortnite’ collide as a virtual J.J. Abrams unveils …

by Ace Damon

"Fortnite" is already one of the biggest games on the planet – it is estimated that over 250 million people have tried the game – and last year proved to be relatively adept at advertising, especially for Disney brands like Marvel and "Guerra". of the Stars. "

On Saturday, "Fortnite" posted director J.J. Abrams enters the game to present a less than 60-second clip of his upcoming movie, "Star Wars: Skywalker's Rise," due to hit theaters next week. Abrams joked that he was never as skinny as his digital self "Fortnite" and traded some splinters with a Stormtrooper, comedian Ben Schwartz portraying the youngest First Order soldier in the world. Then, those who watched watched a short clip with Rey by Daisy Ridley, Finn by John Boyega, and Poe by Oscar Isaac.

It promotes Epic Games' ongoing attempts to evolve the "Fortnite" from a competitive multiplayer game to a time-limited, event-packed community hangout. Earlier this year, the game was redesigned to promote "Avengers: Endgame" and before that "Fortnite" featured a live show by electronic artist Marshmello. The goal is to "get the idea of ​​what a persistent virtual place can be," said Donald Mustard, Epic's worldwide creative director, at the Game Awards on Thursday night. The host of the Game Awards, as well as today's "Fortnite" event, Geoff Keighley, described it as a talk show.

Consider it a fascinating experiment designed to fuse a vivid narrative with an often aggressive, albeit cartoonist game. However, it is also a recognition that our virtual worlds are meeting places as vital as our physicists, using, as Keighley described in social media, "game worlds as the basis for original programming." virtual world – and, of course, dancing as Abrams spoke – “Fortnite” went from a battlefield to a theater stage.

And there was clearly a demand for the event on Saturday as Epic delayed 10 minutes to allow more players to participate. I arrived about 40 minutes early, but finally left and went back to the designated 11am PST start time because my digital avatar was routinely dead.

This is a potential failure to host community activities in a game. One must be willing to adapt to the rules of the digital universe. Finally, if you come alone, you need to be ready to play. Fortunately, combat was deactivated closer to the launch of the event. After all, commercials should come without distractions, and as soon as things started, the game shifted our attention to Millennium Falcon entering the “Fortnite” world in the midst of a battle with First Order ships.

Before the video, we got some of the teen humor from "Fortnite." Participants were asked to vote for what we would see, with options from "Darth Jar-Jar" to a powerful ballet duet between Rey and Adam Driver's villainous character Kylo Ren. It was a slight attempt to create a sense of audience participation, but it seemed more of a fill to compensate for what would be such a brief scene in the movie.

In a screengrab, J.J. Virtual Abrams presents images of "The Rise of Skywalker" via "Fortnite".

(Lucasfilm / Epic Games)

As for the actual clip from "The Rise of Skywalker", it didn't provide meaningful spoilers unless you're the type to analyze all of the character's fashion choices and weapons. But it was fun enough and showed that while Abrams is ending the Skywalker saga, he's happily doing so with the goofy humor of the franchise's trademark.

We saw our heroes leave a ship that appeared to have just landed on a First Order starship. They began killing some Stormtroopers and sneaking through enemy territory before being cornered by more Stormtroopers. This allowed Rey to display some of his Force powers, namely the famous Jedi mental tricks. "It's okay we're here," she said as the soldiers agreed. "It's okay," said one, before the more comically added, "It's good."

The video ended with Poe making a separate for Finn: "Does she do this to us?"

The fans didn't leave their hands empty. Well, practically empty-handed. Those who saw the clip received a lightsaber to add to their "Fortnite" weapon arsenal.

This is not the first time Epic has entered the "Star Wars" universe. The company's technology helps drive Millennium Falcon: smugglers' ride at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The latter represents a totally game-like theme park attraction, with six guests taking on the role of riders, gunners or engineers as they try to steal cargo.

Saturday's brief stretch probably wouldn't last two and a half days before the event, especially for those who had trouble logging in or didn't want to deal with all the "Fortnite" pitfalls. But as a Super Bowl commercial, we come together because it's hard to resist a show, and for many, "Fortnite" is as much a place to hang out with friends on the weekend as it is a place to play.

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