It’s about to be Election Day in the US, and the campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris has launched its own custom map in Fortnite. The map (entitled “Build Back Better With Biden”) went up on Friday and can be found in Fortnite‘s “Reboot City. The map encourages players to vote while also offering challenges related to the Biden-Harris campaign platform. The mini-games that are offered tackle subjects like clean energy, eco-cleanup, as well as 5G broadband building and research. The campaign announced the map with a tweet: “Guess what? We just launched our Build Back Better Fortnite map. Check out our #TeamJoe map code: 0215-4511-1823.”
Guess what? We just launched our Build Back Better Fortnite map.
— Team Joe (Text JOE to 30330) (@TeamJoe) October 31, 2020
Biden-Harris campaign digital partnerships director Christian Tom explained the decision to launch a Fortnite map, in a statement to Mashable:
“With voting underway and days until Election Day, we are continuing to meet people everywhere they are online and offline with innovative and thoughtful activations… engaging players in a substantive, approachable and fun way to reach and mobilize voters.”
Reaching younger voters through gaming has been one of the more groundbreaking things that the Biden-Harris campaign has done. The campaign also launched its own exclusive island in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons back in September, another game that has been a leader in mainstream/gaming culture. Of course, like anything in politics (or political marketing, to be specific), these kinds of PR strategies by campaigns can elicit as much mockery as it does applause. For instance: the number of Steve Buscemi/30 Rock “Hello Fellow Kids” memes that were posted in response to the Biden-Harris Fortnite announcement should let you know that the line between being seen as “progressive” vs “pandering” is razor-thin.
In general Epic Games continues to transform Fortnite from a novel Battle Royal game into a pop-cultural/licensing juggernaut. The game firmly established itself as a legitimate pop-culture event stage, with features like the Travis Scott concert, Marvel superheroes skins, and exclusive first launch of Chris Nolan’s Tenet trailer. Now, it looks like Fortnite could potentially have a viable future as a political influencer, as well – for better or worse.
The Biden-Harris Fortnite Map “Build Back Better With Biden” is now live at map code: 0215-4511-1823. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd in the US.