Tonight's Fortnite live event was a mash-up of marketing and spectacle, as the Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters and John Williams' classic themes mixed with a holographic Geoff Keighley, a comedy Stormtrooper and a dancing JJ Abrams.
That was if you could log in, of course. Once again, the draw of Fortnite's live events stretched the game's server capacity, as well as the ability to log on to the Epic's PC launcher. For several hours, Epic warned of sign-in issues, even long after event finished. In recompense, all Fortnite owners will be gifted the event's exclusive TIE Whisperer glider.
Wow! Unprecedented demand to get into Fortnite. We had to delay until 2:10 PM ET to let in more players.— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) December 14, 2019
Thanks for your patience, as a thank you, everyone will get the glider!
The event itself began with a starship battle in the skies over Fortnite's island, as players watched the Falcon caught up in a dogfight with a series of TIE Fighters - each of which was ultimately sent crashing to the ground in flames. It was a brilliant introduction - until the Falcon landed, and the event transitioned into a talk show sketch.
Holographic Keighley acted as host to an overly-enthusiastic Stormtrooper actor for several minutes, until director JJ Abrams finally appeared to introduce the thing everyone was here to see: an exclusive clip from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In doing so, he asked Fortnite players to vote on which clip they expected to see. And, as if convinced to choose it by a Jedi, Fortnite's players picked the "Jedi Mind Trick" option. (I voted "Darth Jar-Jar".)
The scene itself played - solid but brief, lasting just less than a minute - and then it was back to Keighley and co. to wrap up. It was a little bizarre to be watching Fortnite - which normally choreographs its events down to the second - host a free-flowing chat in this way. What technical feats had been achieved to broadcast this banter to millions? How many hours of work had it took to ensure the Stormtrooper squeezed in as many Fortnite emotes as possible, or that JJ Abrams used the Naruto run meme to exit the stage?
And yet there was more to come. As Abrams held a final poll - this time asking fans to pick their favourite lightsaber colour (Mace Windu's purple, thank you) - more TIE Fighters arrived to chase off the Falcon. Suddenly, we were hearing a juicy new audio line from the film - this time, from Emperor Palpatine. I know Star Wars fans will already be picking over what he said. With the event itself over, a chest unloaded earlier from the Falcon sprung open - and everyone was given a lightsaber weapon to play with in the colour they had just voted for. It was a nice touch.
You can watch the full thing below:
With the event concluded, Star Wars challenges are now live in the game, and both lightsabers and First Order plasma rifles are available as Mythic-rarity weapons in all modes. TIE Fighter crash sites (those ones the Falcon shot down) can be found dotted around the map with First Order troops (bot enemies) to fight. And it looks like even more Star Wars skins are on the way...