It’s not a point of pride for me to say I had little idea who Korean pop supergroup BTS was before this week. As Fortnite weaves its tendrils into the world of pop culture, I find myself frequently asking younger colleagues about musicians, movies, and fandoms in a way that looks less like disaffected cool and more like I’m just old and out of touch. Tonight, BTS premiered the choreography video of its recent hit “Dynamite” in Fortnite, and I dutifully buckled in to feel Too Old once again.
The premiere took place in Fortnite’s Party Royale hub, an area designed specifically for Fortnite’s crossover events. “Dynamite” is the wildly popular group’s first song entirely in English, and its original video racked up a record-breaking 101.1 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release. It’s the first single by an all South Korean group to hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The choreography video itself is exclusive to Fortnite for the first hour of its premiere. It featured, as you’d expect, a lot more dancing that the main video, centering on the boys’ choreography. Players were catapulted into the air at various points during the song, and at other times were made to dance along to BTS emotes. The video played twice, followed by a lyrics video of the song with Fortnite characters dancing along. The whole thing was a little more staid than Fortnite events we’ve seen in the past, but that didn’t keep BTS fans on Twitter from being psyched about it anyway.
The comments on the original Twitter announcement about the BTS/Fortnite crossover were split between Fortnite players loudly disdaining the group and its fans, and BTS fans excited to see their favs in the game. On Twitter, fans encouraged each other to use the hashtag #Dynanite ahead of the event, and I saw plenty of members of the BTS ARMY explaining to each other how to download and navigate Fortnite. Many BTS fans gathered early in Party Royale; on Twitter, many expressed fond bafflement at Fortnite players dancing in front of them, shooting them with arrows, or throwing tomatoes at them. Some said they used siblings’ or nephews’ accounts, while others watched various streams. During the event itself, fans on Twitter expressed excitement at their avatars dancing with the group and tweeted along with the words. It was pretty heartwarming, which isn’t something I usually say about Twitter.
Along with the music video premiere, Fortnite also got some BTS dance emotes that Epic says were choreographed by the band, which went on sale ahead of tonight’s event.
There’s also a creative mode based on the original “Dynamite” music video, which I spent some time tinkering around in. The video itself looks like Fortnite already, with its balloon fonts and pastel colors. The creative mode features some activities like races and orbs to collect, landmarks from the video, and a BTS trivia quiz I did shockingly well on for someone who just learned who BTS was this week, thank you very much.
While I won’t take sides in the BTS v Fortnite conflict, the boys are cute, the music is catchy, and “Dynamite” paints a picture of a bright, energetic world that feels about as far from our current reality as we can get right now. I got to steer my buff cat avatar along to the music, and then I got to play some Fortnite once it was done. That’s a pretty good Friday night these days, all things considered.
If you missed the premiere, you can catch a rerun on Saturday at 8AM EDT.