When you think of the online video game Fortnite, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? If you answered “the late Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.,” then there’s good news for you: a new virtual in-game exhibit will pay tribute to the slain leader by exposing players to his speeches and crusade for justice, Fortnite’s parent company, Epic Studios, announced on Thursday.
Fortnite — a game best known for its battle royale-style violence — has previously featured promotional appearances by artists like Travis Scott and Ariana Grande, making Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and famous advocate of nonviolent protest, an obvious next choice for an in-game feature. According to Epic, the new exhibit, which was created as part of a partnership with TIME Studios, “teleports players to D.C. 63, a reimagined Washington, DC.,” where they will be able to visit the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall to hear to King deliver his infamous 17-minute speech calling for civil rights.
“The experience extends with museum-inspired points of interest, and collaborative mini-game quests you complete with others,” Epic said. “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.”
Lest you assume that a violent battle game senselessly appropriated the message and likeness of a man who was literally assassinated during his attempts to broker peace, know that the King Estate played an active role in green-lighting the homage. Eric D. Tidwell, Esq., the managing director and general counsel of the King Estate said the organisation was “excited” to work with TIME on the Fortnite project.
“With the advent of emerging technology, we seek to use all resources available to continue to spread his wonderful legacy of hope, peace, love, and equality,” Tidwell told The Wrap in a statement. “Presenting his most famous speech in such an interactive format helps us achieve that goal.”
Indeed, perhaps this is the push America’s gamer youth needs in order to move us into a brighter, more egalitarian future, one free from senseless violence and ugly prejudice. Or maybe this will just lead to more idiots using their Fortnite avatars to floss on the National Mall while King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech blares in the background — one or the other.
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