Pop star Ariana Grande has come to Fortnite, and along with her arrival comes a much-needed dose of glam.
Grande descended onto the standard Tomato City for a digital live performance, and along with her, she introduced a set of aesthetic gadgets for gamers to buy. Followers had the chance to purchase two Ariana Grande skins — every of which rocked her iconic high-pony — and different battle gadgets like a sparking glider and a diamond-like hammer.
Whereas Fortnite is already identified for being whimsical, Grande’s arrival introduced a renewed sense of pleasure to the sport. Grande has an infinite fan following; at present, she’s the most-streamed feminine artist ever, and 71 of her songs have charted on the Billboard Scorching 100. The near-ubiquitous nature of her superstar additionally appears to have piqued the curiosity of a wider viewers of gamers.
“It was nice to have a very well-made pores and skin for the women and the gays,” Gil Cruz informed Polygon over Twitter. Cruz identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood and acquired the Ariana Grande pores and skin after seeing it introduced. Beforehand he had purchased the Lara Croft pores and skin, however nothing earlier than that impressed him to spend cash within the sport. Cruz informed Polygon that whereas clearly any pores and skin can be utilized by anybody, the, “Ariana pores and skin was made with a particular eye in direction of the avid gamers that may even be Ariana followers. I believe that there’s loads of overlap on this neighborhood with the LGBTQ neighborhood.”
Cruz’s remark that Grande is especially interesting to him and different members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood has been echoed by followers on TikTok. The development of assigning “homosexual icon” standing to a feminine pop star — particularly one who presents herself in a hyper-feminine manner — is nothing new to on-line LGBTQ+ communities. Different stars like Woman Gaga or Madonna have lengthy been recognized by followers as “homosexual icons.” Grande’s model merely creates a online game port of this sort of fandom. Since her Fortnite live performance, only a fast search on TikTok exhibits movies with captions like “ariana received all of the gays changing into fortnite avid gamers” or “Me peacefully gliding down on the point of k1ll the poisonous straights with my new Ari pores and skin.”
The movies don’t simply reference LGBTQ+ neighborhood, but in addition present how foolish it’s to snipe somebody whereas taking part in as Ariana Grande.
The fan response to Ariana Grande in sport also can really feel encouraging. For some, like T. Kyle, who hosts a popular culture podcast referred to as Legends Solely, the memes and jokes that come from it assist him really feel extra welcome. Whereas T. Kyle isn’t new to video games, he informed Polygon that gamers make homophobic remarks to him “each time” he performs a sport with voice chat. “The memes on social media had been hilarious, and it makes you are feeling welcomed if you see so many different LGBTQ+ avid gamers on-line and in search of teammates,” he informed Polygon.
Nico Deyo, a author who has contributed to Polygon, picked up Fortnite a number of weeks in the past and informed Polygon that they don’t like how the gender in Fortnite is random except you purchase the skins. Nonetheless, they purchased the Ariana Grande pores and skin when it got here out. “Getting to decorate up as Ariana Grande and be a crystal gem gun-toting baddie with a large diamond hammer is neat,” Deyo mentioned.
“There’s such an antagonism in direction of visible indicators of femininity in first-person shooters that this looks like getting in the wrong way for enjoyable,” Deyo continued. In addition they informed Polygon that they personally are butch of their day-to-day life, however they nonetheless take pleasure in taking part in as Grande within the sport: “Being pink, sparkly, excessive femme in a online game additionally does really feel like drag or a enjoyable efficiency in a manner should you aren’t essentially a teen woman (or a lady in any respect).”