Friday ‘Nite is a weekly Fortnite column in which GameSpot editor 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.
The Fortnite Dragon Ball event is well underway. Stretching until the end of August, this crossover has lived up to the hype that was generated when rumors first began swirling earlier this summer that a Dragon Ball collaboration would be coming to Epic’s battle royale.
From the outside looking in, people might think this crossover is just the latest in a five-year history packed with Marvel heroes, Star Wars villains, professional streamers, and stadium-filling musical artists. But the Dragon Ball event is actually more special than any of those, because it reinterprets what a Fortnite crossover can be, paving the way for better, more fulling crossovers in the years ahead.
I’m not a Dragon Ball fan, so whether it was during the rumor phase or after the official reveal, my personal excitement level for this particular collaboration was next to nothing. That changed when I saw the event’s complete details. Most notably, the event’s weeks-long Power Unleashed rewards tree caught my eye, and I realized this wouldn’t be like other crossovers. Most Fortnite crossovers include some skins for sale, perhaps some Creative mode maps, and maybe a few challenges, but the Dragon Ball Super event changes the nature of typical Fortnite events with what you could fairly call an additional mini battle pass for free.
There are 12 Power Unleashed rewards that can be unlocked sequentially during the course of the crossover event. In-game, they’re displayed in a rewards track much like a battle pass of seasons past–before Epic reverted back to the battle star system. Players can unlock each of these 12 rewards, including five free battle pass levels and two desirable emotes, just by completing the game’s Dragon Ball quests, which arrive each day in numbers that resemble the weekly challenges Fortnite adds every Thursday–that’s a lot. In another section of the event, earning all seven Dragon Balls over the two-week event will net players a free Shenron glider, too.
It’s not a novel approach for the game to offer a few free cosmetics alongside the paid skins the developer would surely love you to buy. What’s different with this event is the breadth of content. Not only does the game update every morning, giving players tons of new challenges to complete each day, but it also includes a greater number of free rewards than the usual one or two on offer. Moreover, it includes two new in-game items, including a Kamehameha Mythic weapon that will surely go down as one of Fortnite’s most memorable additions ever. It also includes a Creative hub where you can watch episodes of the anime right inside Fortnite, or head to the show’s Adventure Island and visit some famous landmarks yourself.
Suffice it to say, the Dragon Ball event does not just add more of everything, including more challenges and more free rewards, but maybe most importantly, offers things to do even if you’re not a fan of the series. You don’t have to know or even enjoy the show to use the cool new items you’ll find as loot. And you especially don’t need to know a single thing about the anime to enjoy the Power Unleashed tree’s five free battle pass levels. That’s a new wrinkle, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come. Epic is treating this crossover like one of its biggest ever, and the next time something of this caliber arrives on the island, I’ll expect the same sort of blowout for fans and non-fans to enjoy.
I’d resigned to ignore all the Dragon Ball fanfare until I saw battle pass levels were up for grabs. Now I’m completing my challenges and raising my power level every evening before bed. I don’t have a clue about the anime, or why the characters are always screaming–or why their hair changes colors when they do–but it’s still been the best part of this season because players like me have reason to take part in all the excitement. Fortnite events, with the exception of the Marvel-themed Chapter 2, Season 4 have historically segmented the game’s battle pass XP from its major crossovers. But if this Dragon Ball event is any indication, future crossovers could (and should) be more integrated right into the seasonal content unlocks, like a bonus free battle pass in the backend of a season.
Not every crossover will merit such an array of things to see and do. I can imagine if WWE’s The Undertaker comes to the game, as he likely will eventually, he won’t come with a two-week long free battle pass and more than a dozen things to unlock. He’ll probably not be more than a skin for sale. But for the biggest guest appearances and crossover events–and surely there will be many more to come–Epic looks poised to involve everyone in the community, whether you’re a fan of a particular crossover franchise or you’re just there to level up your battle pass.
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