When it comes to customization, players are spoilt for choice in Fortnite. Although we all start off with the default skin, there’s a world of original and licensed outfits to choose from if you’re prepared to invest some time and or/V-Bucks.
Third-party costumes have become abundant in recent years, from anime characters like Goku, to England football star Harry Kane. The scale of these collaborations is perhaps best demonstrated by the mass of Marvel characters available. Whether you’re after Black Panther, two separate types of Black Widow, or even Blade, they’re in Fortnite. And that’s just the superheroes with B in the name. Of course, you might need to be Tony Stark himself to afford all of them.
However, there’s another side to Fortnite skins beyond their aesthetic appeal. Many suits vary in size, from the bulky Thanos (Marvel) to the short Bulma (Dragon Ball), and these different proportions can have an impact on how a battle plays out. In short, smaller is harder to hit when in combat, specifically when aiming from a distance.
While every Fortnite character is created equal, the same can’t be said for eliminating them. Technically, every character’s hitbox is the same but the smaller characters can be harder to see, and it’s hard to shoot something if you can’t get eyes on.
The result is numerous outfits being considered pay-to-win, with Fortnite’s original superhero costumes being seen as the gold standard. Characters like Joltara and the aptly-named Backlash are often picked due to their slim frames and various color options. These specific skins can be altered into one uniform color - typically green or white - and the result is a significant advantage for savvy players.
Interestingly, the superhero skins were once banned from competitive play, and the option to make the suit entirely black has been removed indefinitely. This seems like an admission on Epic Games’ behalf that this particular variation of the costume was unfair. And yet, the game has introduced another character that brings the same issue.
Miles Morales was added to the in-game shop this week, along with Miguel O’Hara / Spider-Man 2099, as part of a collaboration to promote the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Now, I love Miles as a hero but his slim frame and predominantly black outfit make for an advantageous build, and that’s a recipe for breeding toxicity.
The cartoon nature of Miles explains his peculiar dimensions, with the style giving him a waist skinnier than 0.01% milk. Miguel is similarly skinny around the beltline, but his large chest, shoulders, and optional cape balance it out enough. The thing is, even if the design fits the source material, it still gives Miles an edge that feels problematic, and, seeing how Epic Games previously banned a slim, black-clad character, does that mean Miles should share this fate?
You can never know for sure, but my gut says once Mr Morales exits the in-game store - as all outfits must do - it’s unlikely he’ll return, at least not without a change. I’m sure some will argue the red details on his costume, along with the large eye sections, make it better somehow. When you’re slinging sniper shots at enemies using bushes for cover at long range, it’s hard to see how.
In short, the Spider-Verse collaboration raises a familiar issue, and seemingly undoes Epic Games’ previous attempt to rebalance Fortnite. It’s an excellent costume, but anyone who wears it will have to live with others thinking it’s mainly for the cheesy in-game benefits it confers. Still, maybe it’s worth it for something that looks so cool.