I’m so excited to see where Fortnite Festival goes next in the new year. A spiritual successor to Rock Band isn’t what I expected to arrive in Fortnite, and I didn’t think it’d be this good either. However, Epic Games and Harmonix have some special here, but when The Weeknd leaves the stage, there’s only one band that should walk on next. That’s Foo Fighters, of course.
Foo Fighters? After The Weeknd? Yes. Sure, it isn’t the band or artist you’re probably envisioning for one of the best multiplayer games around, but like a real-life music festival, Fortnite Festival needs to be all about versatility. And Foo Fighters have had that in spades over the course of their 25+ year career. The Weeknd succinctly bridges the gaps between all manner of pop subgenres, weaving in electronica into modern day club bangers. There aren’t any synths to be found on most Foo Fighters songs, but what they do have is a pop sensibility that makes it easy for just about anyone to like them.
Now, I have to admit, this is quite biased. I’m a lifelong Foo Fighters fan, and their music has given me so much on a personal level that I’d never be able to repay that kind of debt to Dave Grohl and co. But even outside my Foo Fighters, I’ve witnessed the infectious spirit they can emit on stage. You can be seated at the back or stood in the far corner of the arena, but they’ll make you feel like you’re right up front and center. That’s the kind of energy Guitar Hero and Rock Band games used to project, bringing me closer together with my friends as we shredded away on our plastic controllers.
They’ve been featured previously in these aforementioned franchises, with mega-hits like Everlong and Learn to Fly appearing across several games. But if you dig beneath the surface, beyond the usual suspects seen on their gig set lists, you’ll unearth songs perfect to test the skills of Fortnite Festival players. Want to give your drumming prowess a true skill check? Allow the late Taylor Hawkins to challenge you with his immense skill on the 2002 single Low, from Foo Fighters’ fourth album, One By One.
Looking for raw, punk riffs and unpolished attitude? Allow Wattershed from Foo Fighters’ self-titled (and Dave Grohl solo effort) to whisk you away with filthy guitar tones and earth-shattering drums. Or, take a detour with something from their modern day output, as songs like Cloudspotter see them at their funkiest yet. The problem right now with Fortnite Festival is that there aren’t many guitar-focused songs, making it feel odd sometimes to be playing in this familiar format without any slick riffs to fall back on. I love early Weezer (put Pinkerton songs in, Epic), but the appeal of the Buddy Holly solo can only last so long in-game.
Where Foo Fighters excel is by cutting to the core of any subject they tackle, putting sincerity deep into each chord, guitar lick, bass riff or drum fill. Fortnite Festival is undoubtedly ‘just a bit of fun’ really at the end of the day, but even the Rock Band series managed to make you feel like you had the crowd in the palm of your hand. So far, the current Fortnite Festival song list is tapping into that feeling, branching out with a multitude of genres. And man, when that Fortnite Festival guitar controller arrives, it’ll be taken to the next level.
The closest Foo Fighters oeuvre lies within Queens of the Stone Age, which features frequent Dave Grohl collaborator Josh Homme at the center. It wouldn’t be the first time Foo Fighters have come into contact with Fortnite, though, as Making A Fire was previously featured on Fortnite’s Rock & Royale radio station.
I’d be curious to see how Epic Games would portray Foo Fighters’ arrival, if this hypothetical collaboration emerged. With The Weeknd, you’ve got just one person to pin your marketing appeal on. When it comes to the Foo’s, as much as it pains me to say it, the average person probably doesn’t have the foggiest idea who Chris Shiflett or Nate Mendel is. What about The Germs legend Pat Smear, too? Dave Grohl has always been the main face of the band, so it could just end up as a solo outing.
Whether Dave Grohl would be game for appearing in Fortnite is hard to say. Grohl and former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic previously took legal action against Activision, as Guitar Hero 5 allowed players to use Kurt Cobain’s digital avatar on any song, rather than just Nirvana-related sections of the game. Seeing a close friend that has passed on contorted this way can’t be easy, and has perhaps soured the idea of gaming-based collaborations.
However, like The Weeknd, the next major Fortnite Festival headliner will get a skin in the Item Shop too. Epic Games could really cook here. You can do the traditional, flannel-clad Dave Grohl. Yet, you can also chuck in his appearance as The Devil in Tenacious D and The Pick of Destiny. Has Fortnite’s player base even seen or heard of it? Maybe not, but Devil Grohl in Fortnite is just simply too good to pass up. And while we’re talking cosmetics, I’m already salivating at the thought of Gibson DG-335 skin for the guitar.
I’m hoping that Fortnite Festival begins to lean into the earlier direction of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, building up a solid library of rock anthems and indie hits to bring my friends and I together. Let’s hope it can be this good, forever.
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