Neymar to make first Fortnite appearance

Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar will become the first playable athlete in the wildly popular video game Fortnite, developer Epic Games announced on Tuesday.

As part of the game’s season six launch “Primal,” players in the game will be able to dress as Neymar while they compete in the winner-takes-all Battle Royale.

Digital costumes (known as “skins”) are popular in the game, and include collaborations with characters from Star Wars, the Walking Dead, and Marvel. In addition, players have the ability to wear kits from multiple football teams, and Neymar’s introduction will mark the first time in the game’s history where an athlete has been fully drawn digitally.

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Neymar joins the “Icon Series,” which includes popular gaming content creators also playable in game such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, and Spanish gamer TheGrefG, who recently shattered the concurrent viewership record on Twitch while revealing his Fortnite skin live, reaching a peak of 2.4 million viewers.

Epic Games Global Head of Partnerships Nate Nanzer told ESPN that he and his team have been in contact with Neymar’s side for “quite some time” as Neymar is an avid gamer. Nanzer said that was key to creating a meaningful collaboration for both sides.

“We wanted to make a big splash, bring in athletes that have global appeal and building on the really successful global football launch in January, it’s super well timed… Gaming is a big part of his life, when he’s not on the football pitch. We think this is a really authentic way to bring him into the game and we can’t wait for fans to see it.”

Nanzer said that sports is a key growth area for Fortnite and football is a key focus given the game’s global nature. More activations for football players and across other sports are possible in the future.

Epic Games are yet to announce a reveal date for Neymar’s first appearance and specify what his role will be.