When Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr. was announced as Chapter 2 Season 6’s secret Battle Pass skin, I didn’t get it. What does a professional athlete have anything to do with a shooter game?
Now that Epic Games has officially revealed how he looks in the game, I get it now.
I was wrong about the Neymar Jr Fortnite skin
The trailer depicts a battle, with Fishstick and company stuck behind cover. From the large fort they’re fighting against comes a grenade, landing just in range. A Whiplash comes roaring in, and Neymar Jr. jumps out to dribble the grenade. As he kicks, Neymar transforms into some Gekiranger/Black Panther-inspired hero (shout out to Jungle Fury) and lands a precise kick on the grenade, sending it back into the fort whence it came.
The trailer turned me into a believer. I was amazed how flawlessly they fit the real-world football star into the game’s aesthetic.
If we’ve learned anything from Fortnite’s massive success over the years, it’s that it really exists as a content delivery platform first and is a game second. That’s not the say that it’s a bad game. I came to love Fortnite for its goofy tone and surprisingly deep gameplay. At the end of the day, it serves to get as many players in the game (and spending money) as possible.
To achieve this business model, Epic Games uses the game as content delivery platform, advertising other media to reach the largest audience possible. It’s basic marketing, and the game will only incorporate more and more varied content in the future. Fortnite has collabs with other games, movies and musicians, so it’s only logical Epic Games would snap up some sports icons.
I once saw someone write that Fortnite was basically a playground where you get to play with virtual action figures. Looking at the game in this lighthearted way makes it easier to enjoy what you want to enjoy. As long as they’re not obtrusive to the overall gameplay, these collaborations and crossovers are a great way to express yourself in the game.
While I’m no sports fan by any means, I appreciate how well implemented this first sports icon crossover is. It’s entirely optional, appeals to a broad audience and entices players to grab the Battle Pass. Unlike Season 4’s all Marvel all the time crossover, you can choose if you want to experience this or not. To me, this collaboration came out way better than I could have expected and is a pretty big win for the Chapter 2 Season Battle Pass.