Anyone who buys the battle pass for the new season of Fortnite gets a nice initial bonus: a playable version of none other than the Mandalorian himself. He unlocks right away, and in many ways, he’s in keeping with the game’s recent strategy of focusing on branded tie-ins. Recent characters have included everyone from Wolverine to Travis Scott, Harley Quinn, and Kathleen “Loserfruit” Belsten. But Mando also differs from those others in one key way: he’s just about the perfect character for the battle royale game.
At this point, it’s not a new idea to point out that The Mandalorian is often structured like a video game. It’s a story about a bounty hunter going out on a series of fetch quests; every time he asks for help, he’s tasked with going somewhere else to either collect an item or kill a monster. He’s basically an armored version of the Witcher. And often, he’ll be rewarded for his efforts with new gear, either in the form of stronger armor or maybe a fancy new spear.
It turns out, this is a perfect fit for Fortnite’s new bounty hunter-focused season. In the game’s continuously evolving fiction, the island is now overrun with the greatest hunters from various realities, all doing... something to stop the pull of a time-bending event that resulted from an attack by Marvel supervillain Galactus. It’s confusing, but it works well with Fortnite’s quest structure, where you’re constantly tasked with new things in order to unlock more gear. There are even new bounties, where you can talk to NPCs or grab jobs from a bulletin board, asking you to kill a specific player.
Initially, Mando looks a bit rough. He isn’t the slick, shiny hunter he is in season 2 of the show. In order to get him to that point, you have to complete quests and slowly unlock new pieces of Beskar armor. It’s going to take a while. There are nine pieces to unlock, and one appears to only be available once you hit level 100. The same goes for Mando’s most important accessory: Grogu, better known as The Child or Baby Yoda, is available once you max out this season’s battle pass.
It’s a bit annoying that I’m going to have to wait so long to watch Grogu sip bone broth while I’m in the middle of a shootout. But I love that this version of the Mandalorian feels so true to the character: he has a lot of cool gear, but it requires plenty of effort to get it.