The online game phenomenon, Fortnite partnered with Time Studios to create a reimagined Martin Luther King, Jr. museum. Players were able to teleport to Washington D.C. in 1963 where they could migrate between Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall to experience Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The event reportedly included museum-inspired points of interest and collaborative mini-game quests.
“These activities progress players through the experience and bring to life important themes of Dr. King’s speech: we move forward when we work together,” Fortnite shared in a press statement.
The “March Through Time” experience is reportedly Fortnite’s second attempt to provide an educational platform to its users. The online platform launched “We The People” in July due to the heightened tension stemming from George Floyd’s passing. The event led to inappropriate behaviors from players who took advantage of the built-in features provided by Fortnite. Epic’s CEO & Founder Tim Sweeney claims they’ve learned from July’s catastrophe.
“Come check this out! In partnership with Time Magazine, it’s Epic’s second effort to host social commentary in Fortnite and builds on everything learned from the We The People event,” Sweeney said in a tweet, which you can see below.
Come check this out! In partnership with Time Magazine, it’s Epic’s second effort to host social commentary in Fortnite and builds on everything learned from the We The People event. https://t.co/VHRIi9O4XU
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 26, 2021
Fortnite Users Abuse Emotes
Judging from the uproar of “March Through Time,” it is clear Epic has not yet learned the dangers of Fortnite’s built-in features which can deflect informative messaging.
For example, a Rick Sanchez skin was worn by Fortnite users as they danced in the virtual Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool during King’s speech. And that was just one of the slew of reports of misconduct from Fortnite players.
MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech is currently being celebrated with a interactive online museum in Fortnitepic.twitter.com/baWiQPtnT5
— Dexerto (@Dexerto) August 26, 2021
Bernice King Was Not Involved
In addition, Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change released a public statement, saying the two entities were not given permission to hold the experience. On Twitter, Bernice confirmed the Center was not involved in the licensing of the virtual experience.
Decisions around licensing my father’s intellectual property are outside of my personal purview. https://t.co/Qr1iztjG0h
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 26, 2021
Fortnite Bans Emotes, But Problems Persist
Due to clear oversights from game developers, Epic Games announced they were disabling a majority of emotes on Aug 27.
All emotes have been disabled in the March Through Time experience except the 8 that are part of the experience. pic.twitter.com/XQZMX1ABYP
— Fortnite Status (@FortniteStatus) August 27, 2021
Reportedly, Fortnite has disabled almost all emotes for their MLK event… one that is still enabled stands out. Epic Games has a deal with DC for Wonder Woman so her emote remains…
Her emote is cracking a whip.
Jesus christ. Who thought this event was a smart idea…? pic.twitter.com/OO8Gm6KirC
— Michael 🎅🎄 (@LegacyKillaHD) August 29, 2021
Problem solved? Not quite. The game still allowed players to access exclusive emotes including a crossover with DC Comics featuring Wonder Woman. The skin uses a cracked whip to slash to the ground. This emote is offensive for its clear racial implications and was reportedly used various times throughout the event.
_/¯ ¯\_ pic.twitter.com/ma7hYoAm1s
— Not Scott (@RoscoesPisssuit) August 28, 2021
Despite Fortnite disabling emotes, players managed to find alternative ways to divert from Epic’s suspension.
So turns out you can bypass the locked emote wheels by using the “Locker emote (1-6)” button. Here I am demonstrating using dance off and dynamic shuffle when they’re not in the event wheel.
This can be used for any emote that is not built in. pic.twitter.com/6Vw1qlAs7z
— . (@BlameGarnet) August 27, 2021
History Repeats Itself
A blast from the past, Fortnite’s recent negligence only proved history certainly repeats itself unless proper actions are taken.
If you can recall, during Fortnite’s “We The People,” players lobbed tomatoes toward the screen as CNN political commentator Van Jones spoke, Niche Gamer previously reported.
If Epic continues to hold events like this, being mindful of the available emotes and skins that are available to players would be a fair start. Failure to be mindful of the app’s built-in cosmetic features will continue to create misplaced virtual experiences.