Pop star Ariana Grande steps into the metaverse of Epic Games’ Fortnite for her Rift Tour of gamified virtual concerts and experiential add-ons
From her 2014 album My Everything to her 2020 release Positions, Ariana Grande is no stranger to evolution and experimentation to music videos. So it makes sense that Epic Games’s virtual world of Fortnite serves as the venue for Grande’s Rift Tour.
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Epic Games had us guessing for about a week about who their “record-breaking superstar” will be but on August 1. The interactive entertainment company revealed it would be the 28-year-old pop star whose popular singles include ‘Bang Bang’ with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, ‘God Is A Woman’ and ‘Side To Side’ with Nicki Minaj.
Following its launch in 2018, battle royale game Fortnite experienced a meteoric rise to fame making it Epic Games’ top creation, raking in more than US$9 billion in its first two years and CEO Tim Sweeney recently stated it grossed US$5.1 billion in 2020.
Fortnite has partnered with some of the music industry’s greats such as popular DJ Marshmello whose shows raked in 10 million people in February 2019. Rapper Travis Scott’s concert series garnered more than 12 million people in April 2020. EDM artiste Kaskade also had a successful in-game concert in March 2021. Though not a concert, Indian rapper and composer, Raftaar, was featured in Fortnite campaign ‘Bhangra Boogie Cup’ which is an in-game competition that took place in December 2020.
Meanwhile, Post Malone — who has been open about his disdain for Fortnite — showed his love for Pokémon at the franchise’s P25 Music virtual concert live-streamed on Pokémon’s YouTube and Twitch accounts and official website for the franchise’s 25th anniversary.
About the shows
The concert series, comprising five shows, kicks off on August 6 at 3.30 am IST, and shows will run through till August 8.
- If you are tuning in, Epic Games encourages people to load up Fortnite about an hour before your selected showtime, so you have some time to explore the Rift Tour Playlist that goes live 30 minutes ahead of each show. This is to ensure everyone is accommodated and maximum capacity is not reached. Though the Rift Tour dates are not region-locked, the times were selected to make sure everyone has a chance to attend.
Going by the appearance of a giant hammer in the Rift Tour teaser, we can expect performances for singles such as ‘God Is A Woman’ of which the music video sees Grande sitting atop Earth and travelling through the universe with a huge mallet. Such scenes would be fun to see recreated in Fortnite graphics.
Another mind-bending music video of Grande’s that would potentially make a great Fortnite show is ‘no tears left to cry’ from her 2018 album Sweetener. The video is reminiscent of Inception and features plenty of CG. Other ideal singles for the tour include her latest single ‘POV’ as well as ‘7 rings’, ‘34 + 35’ and ‘Bang Bang.’
However, the tour will not feature solely music shows. Epic Games will also be selling a skin based on the musician as part of its Icon Series, which features real-world celebrities such as NBA Hall-of-Famer LeBron James and YouTube streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. Grande’s skin will go on sale August 4 at 5.30 am IST; so, yes, you can show up to Grande’s concert dressed as the pop star herself, and you can get a preview of the skin and a backpack based on her pet pig, Piggy Smallz, which she adopted with her now-former fiancé Pete Davidson.
Fortnite is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and PC.