With only 3 days left of Season 3, we are steadily getting more and more excited for the upcoming Season 4. Epic games have just tweeted out another photo in addition to the one featured in yesterdays Fortnite Season 4 article, which now includes a female masked character. Many think this skin (or what we can see of it) is designed to represent “Wonder Woman”. The similarities of these characters looking like The Flash and Wonderwoman surely now indicates to the superhero theme of Season 4. With these subtle hints and other new information, would it be possible that we may see DC & Marvel superheroes in Fortnite?
Why may we have DC & Marvel Superheroes in Fortnite?
The main obstacle for any company using official Superhero names and designs is licensing issues, but we’ve done a bit of digging and think Epic Games may already have this covered. Many other films and media companies are trying to target the gaming sector, both due to the huge pop culture influence and the obvious financial gain.
For many years, both Marvel and DC have expanded their franchise into the video game market. DC’s Batman: Arkham series and the Marvel Lego games are perfect examples of this crossover.
Epic Games partner Tencent Games has a license for DC characters
Tencent Games is a huge video game company based in Shenzhen, China. Back in June 2011, Tencent invested $330 million dollars for a 48.4% share of Epic Games. These gaming giants have a strong track record when it comes to investing in other developers and publishers. The most popular being their investment into Riot Games which of course developed League of Legends, the current largest MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) in the world.
But how does this tie into Season 4 of Fortnite? Well, in 2017 Tencent closed a licensing deal with TimeWarner, who own DC comics. This was to enable Tencent to add popular DC characters into their mobile game called Strike of Kings (Honor of Kings in China). As a result, the game introduced Batman, Superman and The Joker.
As previously mentioned, we know how keen DC and consequently TimeWarner are at utilising and expanding their popularity in the gaming industry. With Strike of Kings being a huge success, hitting over 50 million daily users, it would be safe to assume that Time Warner would seek to replicate this.
We do not know for certain, but perhaps within this licensing contract between Tencent and TimeWarner, there was a clause in which Tencent also gained the rights to add DC comic characters into other titles. However, even if this was not the case, from a business and marketing point of view, we could expect to see some more partnerships with Tencent and TimeWarner.
I must add, that this may already have occurred which is why we are seeing the images released by Epic Games, which liken very much to The Flash and WonderWoman. Also given how incredibly popular Fortnite now is, throughout the whole gaming world, TimeWarner would be able to again focus on the $46 billion a year gaming industry without actually needing to develop or publish a game itself.
Epic Games, Disney Accelerator and Marvel
The connection between, Epic Games, Disney and Marvel are a one of great interest. As many will know, in 2009, Disney bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. This, of course, included the rights to all the characters, movies, comics and subsequent Marvel franchises. Despite the initial scepticism of this partnership, Disney/Marvel have continued to produce huge blockbuster hits, multiple Netflix shows, popular TV series and incredible video games.
The lesser know partnership was with Epic Games and the Disney accelerator programme in 2017. This programme allows companies to access Disney’s creative expertise, talented staff and resources whilst developing their own entertainment, software, programmes or products. A list of all 2017 companies who joined this programme can be found here.
Epic games, which created the Unreal Engine Technology in 1998, have helped quite literally millions of developers who also use the Unreal Engine. Known as a leading tool for design, simulation, cinematic production and gaming experience, Epic’s Unreal Engine actually holds the Guinness World Record for the “most successful video game engine”. Epic Games showcased this engine last year at a Disney Accelerator demo day.
With Epic games now having access to resources, software, and expertise at The Walt Disney Company, there may be a future relationship with Disney and Epic games (if not already). Most of this theory, however, depends on if Epic Games would have access to use Marvel characters and be granted a license as part of this relationship, or whether it is purely to help to promote and increase development processes.
Walt Disney also owns the rights to Star Wars (Lucas Films) and The Muppets, so if the Marvel crossover does occur in Fortnite then who knows what potential new skins, emotes, weapons and overall themes we may see. However, it should also be noted, that the images provided by Epic Games so far only show similarities to DC superheroes, so the Marvel adaptation may be a little more ambitious to imagine with the current information we have.
For now, this is all speculation based on current information available, but, as always, we will not know for certain about the future of Fortnite Season 4 until Epic Games tell us more.
This seamless blend of multiple industries may open the floodgates to an evermore exciting future for Fortnite and Epic Games.