Called “Wild Dreams,” the virtual music experience is billed as an “immersive sonic experience portraying Laroi’s journey from humble beginnings to headlining sold-out performances as a worldwide superstar.” Unlike virtual concerts from the likes of Travis Scott and Ariana Grande, which took over the entire game, the new experience takes place inside of a purpose-built world designed in Fortnite’s creative mode. (It’s similar to Easy Life’s 2021 experience in that regard.)
It starts out simple enough. Players are dropped into a seemingly empty city, with the word “Fortnite” displayed on a hill like the Hollywood sign, before letters spelling “Laroi” drop down. Then a supply crate drops containing a box with Laroi trapped inside singing, looking a bit like that Drake meme. Players can run around collecting musical notes for experience points and just generally doing what they want, whether that’s emoting or nothing at all.
From there, it gets weird in the way things in Fortnite tend to do. First, a video of Laroi dressed up like a character from a ’90s hacker movie invites you into his home, where you can smash up furniture. Then, you’re transported to a cyberpunk city where you have to run away from some kind of fiery demon creature, and later on, you’re dropped into an arena to fight it by shooting beams of electricity. It’s not clear exactly if you can lose this battle, nor how much skill plays into it, but teaming up with a bunch of other players to take it down makes it feel a bit like one of Fortnite’s raids, albeit a simpler version.
Of course, while you’re doing all of this video game stuff, video screens show off Laroi performing songs, and it all finally wraps up with a more traditional concert inside of a small stadium. Lights flash, your avatar is forced to dance, and a giant avatar of Laroi bounces around on stage. Afterward, everyone is transported to an “afterparty” where you can’t really do much at all, aside from look at the new in-game skins (available now in the Fortnite shop, naturally).
It’s definitely a strange experience, as is the norm for Fortnite, and aesthetically, it’s all over the place. I’m sure plenty of the people I played alongside were just in it for the extra XP. But it also represents a fascinating further blurring of the lines between video games and entertainment experiences like concerts. With its chase sequence and raid battle, “Wild Dreams” reminded me a bit of some of Fortnite’s live in-game events, like the battle with Galactus, the Storm King fight, or the alien invasion. It wasn’t as huge of a spectacle as any of those, but it showed how those linear video game experiences can be morphed to fit within the confines of a virtual concert.
And it’s something we’re likely to see plenty more of in the future. Epic continues to make music an integral part of Fortnite, and the game’s creative mode makes it possible to design purpose-built experiences instead of trying to make the battle royale mode fit whatever is happening at the moment. We’ve already seen it used to make everything from branded worlds to modern art installations, and it’s no stretch to believe music will continue to lead the way.
It also means that the experiences are much more readily available. “Wild Dreams” kicked off this weekend, but you can still jump in from now until April 27th.
Correction January 30th, 2:45PM ET: An earlier version of this story had the wrong end date for “Wild Dreams.” We regret the error.
Source: The Verge