An ad Ridley Scott directed for Apple was the basis for a Fortnite parody by Epic Games earlier this month. The original ad, titled "1984," aired during that year's Super Bowl, and depicted Apple as the protagonists against an Orwellian empire. While Scott's original ad played coy about the true identity of its villain, Fortnite's take was anything but subtle. The parody introduced the "Tart Tycoon" character as the villain the heroes were standing up against. In an interview with IGN, Scott revealed that he had seen the ad, and felt the message fell flat.
"I wrote to them because on the one hand I can be fully complimented by the fact they copied [my commercial] shot for shot,” Scott told IGN. “But pity the message is so ordinary when they could have been talking about democracy or more powerful things... And they didn’t use it.”
Fortnite's version of the ad was released just hours after Apple announced the game's removal from the App Store. The announcement came after Epic violated Apple's terms of service, which state that all in-app transactions must go through the company, resulting in a 30% fee. Epic Games released an update for Fortnite that allowed players to circumvent that payment process, prompting the takedown. Following the announcement, Epic Games brought an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple. Since then, the two have been locked in a stalemate, and the game has been removed from the App Store.
Ridley Scott is one of the most famed directors in Hollywood, responsible for films such as Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. It's certainly interesting to hear the famed director's take on the parody, and it's hard to disagree. While some might agree with Epic Games regarding Apple's 30% cut on in-app purchases, Epic was more than aware that they were in violation of the terms of service, and the timing of the ad's release shows that they might have been more interested in a battle of public perception. As such, the whole thing is a bit hyperbolic, and there are more important things that might have been an appropriate fit for this kind of homage. While Scott did not agree with the message, he did speak positively of the production value.
“I think the animation was terrific, the idea was terrific, the message was ‘ehh’," Scott told IGN.
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