Superman is shit. Okay – perhaps that’s a bit hyperbolic – but he’s a comic book hero that I’ve never resonated with. Clark Kent is essentially an all-powerful being who is scared of magical space rocks and evil bald Tories. When I think of truly compelling characters in his universe my mind jumps to the likes of Harley Quinn, Batman, and the Teen Titans. Unfortunately, all of these have already made their way into Fortnite, so Epic Games had to do something with the man who wears his underpants over his trousers eventually.
So here he is. Well, he’s coming soon apparently, but his mug is plastered all over the promotional materials alongside another big franchise in the form of Rick and Morty. We hope you like pickles and szechuan sauce, because Rick Sanchez is front and centre in the new season of Fortnite, taking advantage of his own dimension-hopping technology to join the metaverse in their fight against a seemingly unstoppable alien invasion. Thematically it’s perfect, and I still enjoy the show despite its very polarsing reputation online, but I can’t help but feel it’s not quite enough to support several months of seasonal content.
Rumours have been swirling around that Epic Games failed to convince Nintendo to allow Samus Aran to join the world of Fortnite for this sci-fi focused season. The intergalactic bounty hunter would have been the perfect fit for such a locale, fighting against aliens alongside Pickle Rick and Clark Kent before pulling off a cheeky dab and dancing to BTS. That sentence made me want to crumble into dust, but also highlights the potential of such a character in the wider universe. Without her, and with only Superman, Rick Sanchez, and original characters to hold it up, I can’t help but feel that Invasion should have more to it.
Perhaps I’m jumping the gun a bit.Fortnite might still have a number of surprises hiding up its sleeve simply waiting to be unveiled. However, given this season is alien themed, it’s also played many of its biggest cards with the likes of Ellen Ripley, Predator, and The Terminator all being added to the game with little rhyme or reason. I understand that Epic Games wishes to flaunt its licensing prowess with all of these new additions, but doing so randomly has only hurt the game as a whole. Each new face like this should be a major event, something hardcore fans and newcomers alike can celebrate as a serious deal.
Once they’re thrown onto the digital store with such minimal fanfare, the opportunity to resurface them as something more is gone. Sure, you can work them into the overall aesthetic and highlight their importance in the metaverse narrative, but something that could have sold thousands of battle passes is now just an entertaining extra. In a genre as beloved as sci-fi, a boring superhero and grumpy boomer scientist simply feel too weak to carry one of the biggest games in the world.
Add The Doctor, the aliens from Mars Attacks, or the entire cast of Firefly – something that makes the fight for Fortnite’s world feel more worthwhile. Like I said, I might be judging things much too early, but right now, this season has underwhelmed in ways I didn’t expect. The highlights come with its original story, with a Black lead being placed at the forefront with Doctor Slone. Maybe this should be the focus, as opposed to a well of licensed properties that will inevitably run dry.
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