When you can say something about Fortnite's live events, they become more and more ambitious. From the original rocket launch to the battle between Mech and Kaiju to the black hole that wiped out an entire island, every new event is more complex than the last. Now we can say that this also applies to the concerts. The Marshmello show last year was an exciting, dynamic example of what a virtual concert could look like. This week's Travis Scott performance blew it up.
Epic had been preparing the stage for the concert since last weekend – literally. Over the past few days, players have been able to see a stage being built on the beach at Sweaty Sands that has become more complete over the days. There was a black stage on the water around which were several golden, inflatable Travis Scott heads.
As with previous events, the pre-show was a bloodbath in which the players killed each other to kill for some time. (Fortunately, there were respawns.) When the show started, players could see a strange planet-like object floating on a circular screen. When it got close enough, everything exploded and the performance really started.
Really, the entire Fortnite Island was the stage. During the opening song, a giant Scott stomped around the island while the players could run across the water for a glimpse. As the tracks changed, the visual elements also changed. At some point, everything was fiery and Scott turned into a cyborg. later it looked like everyone had been transported to Tron. When "Highest in the Room" appeared, the crowd went underwater with a giant space traveler. There were roller coasters and psychedelic effects and in the end the players literally flew around the planet.
The set was short and took about 15 minutes. But what I loved was that it was the kind of experience that could only exist in a virtual space like this. Yes, live concerts have become more elaborate, as anyone who has attended an IRL Travis Scott Arena show can attest to. But they won't let you float in the air while a Godzilla-sized rapper runs across an ocean.
Epic also seems to have learned some lessons from past events and concerts. For one thing, the game's user interface was automatically deactivated after the start of the show, so that you get a better overview of the trippy graphics. The developer also limited the emotes that players could use to keep the brand updated. I couldn't do a kitty dance or anything stupid. Instead, I could headbang or run around with a fiery microphone stand. On a nice note, you didn't have to own these emotes to use them during the concert.
Perhaps the smartest thing Epic did was go on a tour instead of a concert. While all previous Fortnite events were unique, the Scott concert I attended was the first of five. If you missed it, there are many other ways to get started. (For more information on viewing, see our guide.) It opens the event to a wider audience around the world.
The Marshmello concert last year was a huge success. According to Epic, more than 10 million people were present, making it Fortnite's biggest event ever. Travis Scott's virtual tour, with multiple shows, a more elaborate performance, a bigger name, and a captive audience that has nothing to do, has the potential to top that. The question really is how much surreal Epic can make his next digital concert series.