Even if you don’t play one of the biggest video games on the planet, there stands a good chance you’ve heard about Fortnite recently — memetic songs about chug-jugging or otherwise — thanks to the launch of its latest season of content. But the game’s status as this bizarre black hole of media content is growing beyond crossover skins and entangling…Hollywood directors? For instance: Marvel’s Joe and Anthony Russo.
This week, Fortnite ended its Zero Point chapter of seasonal content and began — good lord — Chapter 2 Season 6: Primal. As the name implies, it sees the battle royale map transform into a wild, rugged landscape free of modern accoutrements, and the hunters (you and 99 other people) become the hunted (you and…99 other people). New things to do, new skins to earn, Fortnite continues unabated, except now DC Comics’ Raven and Tomb Raider icon Lara Croft are now also here.
You think after the Rise of Skywalker stuff and last season’s Marvel-a-go-go Epic that Disney wouldn’t want to put the hottest father/son team-up it’s got in the world’s biggest video game?Read more
Also here, kind of? Avengers and Captain America directors Joe and Anthony Russo, but not as playable characters that you can force to floss at a moment’s notice. Instead, two of the biggest names in blockbuster moviemaking right now actually directed the opening cutscene for the new season, which you can see below.
It stars The Last of Us’ Troy Baker as Jonesy, who over the course of Fortnite’s growth into the dominant pop cultural force of the moment has gone on an arc from “basic entry character skin” to “secret agent character recruiting people from across a multiverse of licensed and original IPs to stop temporal calamities.” As one does.
There’s also Street Fighter’s Ryu murdering a sentient banana.
“It’s been fantastic working with the team at Epic. Fortnite holds a unique place in pop culture, and we think Donald Mustard [Epic’s chief creative officer] is a visionary storyteller who continues to take us all into unexplored territory,” the brothers Russo said in a statement to Variety revealing their involvement with the cinematic, seen by millions of people in and out of the game this week. In a roundabout way, it closes the loop on the Russo Brothers including Fortnite in Avengers: Endgame. You may recall Korg was being thrashed in the game when we found him hanging out with a depressed Thor in New Asgard, and at the time, the game itself was running an Endgame-themed event. Because the intersection of pop culture behemoths is never anything but deeply weird.
This is far from the first time Fortnite has crossed paths with Hollywood big names. A cartoon-ified J.J. Abrams warped into the game to debut a clip from The Rise of Skywalker a few years ago, and Fortnite’s own events-hosting mode has been home to everything from Christopher Nolan-sanctioned movie marathons to an intimate platform that champions short films and up and coming directors.
Directly involving creatives like the Russos, not in a crossover capacity, but in actively shaping Fortnite’s own internal mythos as it becomes both a hub for branded crossovers and its own, ever-growing story and world, feels like a pretty major step up — even if the thing stepping up is one of the, if not the, biggest transmedia titans going right now.