Fortnite’s Martin Luther King Jr. Experience Draws Criticism, Uncertainty From Players
It's 2021 and someone decided that it was a good idea to feature Martin Luther King Jr. in a video game.
On Thursday (Aug. 26), Fortnite, TIME Studios and PlayStation announced "March Through Time D.C. '63," a new in-game experience centered around MLK Jr. and civil rights. The Fortnite Creative Community (including members ChaseJackman, GQUanoe, XWDFr and YU7A) developed the new experience in which Fortnite players can "celebrate the life and legacy of Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."
A teaser for the game experience shows Fortnite player avatars watching MLK Jr.'s famous "I Have A Dream" speech in-game. The game experience includes points of interest players can explore and mini-quests to complete. Players who complete the entire March Through Time experience will be rewarded with a D.C. 63 spray for their lockers.
Watch the teaser, below:
Though the game does not depict exactly what life was like during MLK Jr.'s historic speech back on Aug. 28, 1963, it invites users into a "re-imagined Washington, DC" called "D.C. 63." Players can visit the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. National Mall virtually in the game as well.
The game's goal is to help "equip students to have meaningful discussions not only in the classroom, but in their personal lives as well."
"Civil Rights is a struggle we still fight for to this day, and it has benefited from the collective efforts of millions of people around the world. We hope the March Through Time experience inspires the community to promote mutual respect and empathy towards all people no matter their race, religion, or orientation," a statement from Fortnite reads.
American Family Insurance, the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. all contributed to the project. It seems as though MLK Jr.'s family is on board with the game.
However, many social media users are questioning what MLK Jr. would think about being featured in a corporate capitalist video game if he were still alive today. Some believe that the company is trying to do good but in the wrong way, and it seems the majority of reactions to March Through Time have been negative.
See some social media reactions, below.