This year’s World Cup is a bit different, as I think we all understand. Amid headlines about migrant worker conditions, LGBTQ+ rights and criticism of the tournament from gamers and fans, it’s been interesting to see how brands – and video games – are rating Qatar 2022.
Fortnite has a history with football – and its governing bodies. Some of its most popular skins are based on football kit designs, and the game’s meme-like dances were an integral part of England’s 2018 World Cup squad. Last year, Epic Games officially licensed the likenesses of England’s Harry Kane and Germany’s Marco Reus for the delayed Euro 2020, and featured an in-game ‘UEFA Euro 2020 Cup’ tournament with cash prizes.
Prior to that, Fortnite added skins featuring the officially licensed football shirts of 23 of the world’s top teams, including many from the Premiership. Fortnite also has an officially licensed Neymar Jr. skin and emote where you can hit the air that was released in collaboration with Pelé.
This year, the game seems to have taken a different approach.
Scheduled to launch alongside the Qatar tournament, Epic Games has released a new range of Fortnite skins and accessories under the “Let Them Know” brand. That’s an interesting name choice!
Most notable here are eight highly customizable skins dressed in football shirts, shirts, and scarves, with nearly every element of each outfit customizable – down to boot patterns, sock patterns, and zipper color. .
There’s no official UEFA branding this time around, no mention of the ‘World Cup’ by name, in fact – although it’s obvious these skins are releasing now.
“Let them know! Specifically, let the team know what you’re doing,” Epic Games said, describing the lineup. “The next Let Them Know set features 10 outfits based on the beautiful game, all of which you can customize with multiple designs and colors. Customize your outfit for a look that’s uniquely your own.”
These outfits were first announced in a blog post where a character skin is shown customized in colors similar to the bisexual Pride flag.
Immediately, I saw Fortnite fans wondering if they could dress up their virtual soccer characters in other Pride colors. Last night when the skins went on sale I gave it a try – you can see my quick effort below. I’m sure others will do better!
Fortnite has celebrated Pride in-game for the past two years with a range of skins and other free cosmetics featuring Pride designs, showcased through in-game events titled “Rainbow Royale” and “Play Your Way”. In September, the game added its first trans character – DC superhero Dreamer.