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It’s a long-time coming, and reactions to the skin are mixed.
For the first time in eight seasons, Fortnite has a female skin as the Battle Pass’ top prize: Luxe. Luxe is a Black woman with a sleeve of glittering tattoos and a septum piercing. She’s got a few different tiers to unlock, each of which is essentially re-colors her clothes; in the top slot, she’s wearing shimmering gold cargo pants, a black crop top, and metallic lipstick. Simply put, she’s a badass.
It’s a moment many Fortnite players have been waiting for. Throughout the years, players have been talking about the battle royale game’s trend of using male skins as the default for tier-100 outfits, which are deemed as status symbols. (For example, there’s a certain fear in spotting a player sporting a John Wick skin in Tilted Towers—you know they’ve got a serious amount of experience playing the game.) Posts on the Epic Games forum and on Reddit often ask: Why don’t we have a tier-100 female skin?
“Maybe you guys could possibly add at least one female one sometime because it kind of seems like the male skins are the ones mainly in the storylines and the female skins are kind of in the background watching it all,” one user wrote on the Epic Games forum.
Tier-100 Fortnite skins are typically more than just an outfit to wear in-game. Fortnite’s ongoing storyline, which changes the map and gameplay as it progresses, typically includes these Battle Pass characters. And that means there’s potential that a woman takes center stage this season in Fortnite—a Black woman at that.
We know that representation matters in video games. We want to play as characters that look or feel like us. It’s also important for players who aren’t women of color to see that power is not about being a strong (white) man. Fortnite certainly has no shortage of female avatars, but there’s never been a woman in the Battle Pass’ top slot. Having a female skin in that slot now is huge. The more women, and women of color, in high-ranking roles normalizes such gameplay for Fortnite’s player base, from children to grown men who might have been squeamish about wearing a women’s “skin.”
However, a lot of the criticism about Luxe is that she’s not legendary enough. She’s underwhelming, even, when compared to the likes of Omega or the Ice King, who’s got an elaborate, fantastical design. Some players suggest the skin should be switched in place with Blackheart, a pirate skin that’s also part of this Battle Pass, and unlockable at level one.
My problems with the new TIER 100 skin. Please listen. This should be very simple. pic.twitter.com/aazif7kQLg
— Luke-TheNotable (@LukeTheNotable) February 28, 2019
I love Luxe, its an amazing skin its just not tier 100 worthy, she’s too simple for that.
— pixie ✨ (@notpixie) February 28, 2019
Others noted that it’s fine that Luxe isn’t overdone.
Yeah but luxe is the coolest skin. Just because it isn’t outrageous and gaudy doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of being the final skin.
— Darby (@xDerbsx) February 28, 2019
— IXxQueenBeexXI[TeEm] (@MyLuvIs1inaMill) February 28, 2019
I think Luxe being the Tier 100 skin is fine.. everyone’s hating on the skin so much. She’s pretty. Atleast you don’t have to work for the other skins that y’all LOVE so much😂 Luxe is definitely one of the best skins in the battle pass IMO
— carsen ♡ (@carsenxo) February 28, 2019
Luxe might be my new favorite fortnite skin
— Andrei (@SuperStyleO2) February 28, 2019
For what it’s worth, Blackheart does have a ton of upgradeable options that drastically change what he looks like. Luxe, on the other hand, simply changes colors. She does have some cool add-ons, like bullet wings and a golden pickaxe, but it’s not nearly as extensive as Blackheart. Luxe’s options just put her in different colored pants and lipstick, the latter of which is pretty gendered.
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For now, it’s not entirely clear how Luxe fits into Fortnite’s season-eight story. Her relevance to the storyline will likely become much clearer as the season moves along; it is day one after all. The theme of the season seems to be focused on pirates—there’s a new cannon weapon, among other changes—and movie-esque adventure, with the addition of a bubbling volcano. Previous tier-100 skin characters have been villains, but we’ll have to wait and see if Luxe follows suit. Here’s hoping she plays a part in Fortnite’s evolving story.
Nicole Carpenter is a freelance writer and reporter with words on Dot Esports, Rolling Stone, Medium, InStyle, IGN, Polygon, the Outline, Racked, Vice, Kill Screen, and the Washington Post.