Friday 'Nite is a weekly Fortnite column in which Mark Delaney takes a closer look at current events in the wide world of Fortnite, with a special emphasis on the game's plot, characters, and lore.
It's almost August. At this time last year, the Fortnite Ariana Grande Rift Tour was pretty much already a publicly known fact thanks to leaks from one heck of a leaker. By August 1, 2021, we had the complete Rift Tour schedule straight from Epic Games. On similar schedules in years past, we'd also seen Travis Scott and Marshmello take the virtual stage in Epic's burgeoning metaverse.
But if you're waiting for a Fortnite concert for Summer 2022, as of right now, nothing is confirmed--it's not even concretely leaked yet, unlike last year's show. Instead, what we have are several whispers and maybe an explanation as to why a concert, if it's happening at all, is coming a bit later this year. Rounding up rumors pertaining to performers such as Billie Eilish, Juice Wrld, and Lady Gaga, here's everything we know so far about a Fortnite Summer 2022 concert.
Fortnite concert 2022 leaks and rumors
Everything we know about a Fortnite concert for this summer comes down to a wide variety of different leaks and rumors. They can't really be discussed in one breath because they have different points of origin, so let's break down the three major rumors one at a time, in the order in which they appeared online.
Why it might be Lady Gaga
A Lady Gaga Fortnite concert is actually the oldest of the rumors, dating back to last spring when the Epic vs. Apple court battle was happening. In the discovery phase, onlookers were given a remarkable number of revelations from both sides of the lawsuit. On the Epic side, we learned a ton about future Fortnite plans, including the NBA crossover, the LeBron James skin, as well as a few music collabs mentioned by name: Ariana Grande, J Balvin, and Lady Gaga.
We've already seen both Grande and Balvin come to the game as skins--plus Grande got her magical Rift Tour, of course, so it stands to reason that Gaga's time is coming soon.
Why it might not be Lady Gaga
While Ariana Grande got a concert and an in-game skin, J Balvin didn't get the same level of fanfare. An emote that plays one of his hits is cool, but that's the extent of his crossover with Fortnite. We can then reasonably deduce that Lady Gaga might only get something like a skin too, not a full concert event. Lady Gaga is also more of a millennial icon, whereas Fortnite primarily targets Gen Z.
Why it might be Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is probably the favorite among fans--or at least the one most fans are wishing for. Younger than Gaga and totally beloved by the right age group, Billie is also one of the world's biggest artists currently and suits Epic's pursuit of artists on or above the level of those who came before her. Donald Mustard, Epic CCO and frequent teaser online, also shared a photo from a Billie Eilish concert earlier this year. Mustard doesn't tweet many things that aren't hints of some kind, so it's worth noting.
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? pic.twitter.com/FQ0nWkROoZ— Donald Mustard (@DonaldMustard) March 22, 2022
Why it might not be Billie Eilish
To be fair, Mustard was taking his daughters to the Billie show, and he's allowed to share a picture from the crowd. So I may be reading into things too much, but I don't lose sight of that. Another reason to suspect Billie may not be the focus of this year's concert: Ariana Grande's Rift Tour was a ton of fun, but Epic never shared attendance numbers like it did with the 2020 Travis Scott Astronomical show. Because companies are so often obsessed with unrelenting growth, Epic may have elected to keep the Rift Tour totals private if they fell below Scott's show.
If that's the case, it could be because Ariana tends to be more of a women and non-male icon, whereas the Fortnite community as a whole is made up of many more young boys and men, according to a 2021 demographics study. If Epic wants the next Fortnite concert to get back to breaking records, it may look to draw in another performer that is better attuned to the game's player base.
Why it might be Juice Wrld
The late rapper Juice Wrld was very popular before his untimely death in 2019, and an HBO documentary about the young artist put him on even more people's radar. We'd not expect Epic to produce an in-game concert with a dead person, except that the rapper's manager retweeted the Season 3 launch trailer and has since spoken of a possible collaboration more than once, including a time where he suggested he'd get in trouble with Epic if he said anything more on the subject.
Because Fortnite concerts involve pre-recorded versions of songs, there's no reason Juice Wrld's absence would present much of a problem, so long as his rights holders work on the deal all the same.
Why it might not be Juice Wrld
Well, isn't it obvious? Given that Juice Wrld is deceased, it may be an awkward sell for Epic. Does the loosey-goosey battle royale game known famous for dancing bananas want to jump into the complicated debate over using a dead person's likeness? Perhaps Epic sees the opportunity to be a trailblazer, but the company is in North Carolina, not Silicon Valley, so one has to wonder if they're not the same brand of tech evangelists we may be thinking of.
After the mixed reviews of an elaborate stage projection of Tupac, often mistakenly called a hologram, putting on a show in 2012, is Epic willing to test its goodwill on a concert from a rapper who died much too young?
If not them, then who?
Fortnite often suffers more leaks than the Titanic, so it doesn't seem likely that the real concert would still be under wraps at Epic this late in the summer, at least not if it's coming in August. But then again, there's no guarantee it will come in August--or at all. The summer schedule is unfolding later this year, with the summer event beginning several weeks after it normally would.
Does that mean a concert was also pushed back by a few weeks? It could, but given the relative quiet surrounding the general idea of a Fortnite Summer concert in 2022, perhaps it's most likely that there's no such concert at all.
Still, if I was to assume a concert is happening but it's none of those mentioned above, who else fits the bill? I have two guesses: The Weeknd or a K-pop group like BTS--both of whom are already in the game via Icon Series emotes. They're massive on a scale that competes with past Fortnite concerts--arguably, either one would raise the bar given their popularity.
For now, all we can do is wait, but if we still know nothing a few days from now, I'm prepared to jump on the train of thought that Fortnite performers are resting their virtual voices this summer.
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