58 years ago this weekend, more than 250,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. call for Black Americans to be granted the same rights, freedoms and justices enjoyed by their white neighbors. Now, you can experience King’s speech—one of the most iconic addresses in American history—in an innovative new way: on Fortnite, via TIME’s new “March Through TIME” project.
Best known as an online multiplayer game, Fortnite has been opening itself up as a storytelling and educational platform. For March Through TIME, TIME Studios partnered with Fortnite developer/publisher Epic Games and Fortnite community creators to develop an in-game experience set in Washington in which players can watch King’s speech while taking part in educational minigames to further their understanding of the civil rights movement. Players who beat enough of these games can activate a celebratory fireworks show over the National Mall. More educational resources, including civil rights-era photography, are included in an in-game museum that players can visit.
March Through TIME, which launches Aug. 26 and is free to download, brings a novel educational experience to a platform that’s already wildly popular, especially with younger audiences (as of May 2020, Fortnite had 350 million registered accounts). The project’s executive producers, Tomi Omololu-Lange and Matthew O’Rourke, hope that parents, teachers and others use March Through TIME to teach kids about a vital era in American history via a platform they find familiar and engaging.
“The mission of this project is to introduce the legacy of Dr. King and other civil rights heroes to the next generation,” say Omololu-Lange and O’Rourke. “We wanted to reach kids where they were and create inspirational content as interactive and engaging as what they have become accustomed to. With Fortnite’s unprecedented scale and unparalleled immersive capabilities, we knew their platform would allow for the most significant impact.”
March Through TIME is an extension of TIME’s The March, a groundbreaking effort to recreate the 1963 March on Washington in virtual reality. That project is set to launch at the DuSable Museum in Chicago on Aug. 28. But thanks to Fortnite’s widespread popularity and availability—it can be installed on everything from a PlayStation to an iPhone—the March Through TIME experience aims to reach a far larger audience. The project was made with support from Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., licensor of the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., and built by Fortnite community creators ChaseJackman, GQuanoe, XWDFr, and YU7A using Epic Games’ Fortnite Creative tools.
“Fortnite Creative is a way for anyone to build fantastical new experiences and publish them to an audience of millions, all inside one of the world’s most popular destinations for social entertainment and gameplay,” says Nate Nanzer, vice president of global partnerships at Epic Games. “We were honored to help TIME Studios bring such an impactful moment in the ongoing struggle for civil rights to life inside Fortnite Creative.”
To experience March Through TIME, simply download Fortnite on the device of your choice, launch the app, then choose “creative mode.” The March Through TIME experience will be prominently featured on Epic’s creative mode hub at launch time, and will be available for a year. After finishing March Through TIME, users will be encouraged to visit The March website, where they can view educational videos from TIME Studios’ One Dream: 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom project. (The March is made possible by American Family Insurance.)