Fortnite Maker Epic Games Mocks Apple With Angry Take on '1984'

Apple had banned Fortnite from its App Store

Epic Games is generating global buzz for depicting a tech behemoth as one bad Apple.

On Thursday, Apple booted Epic's Fortnite from the App Store.

Epic quickly responded with "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite," a 45-second film that pointedly mocks Apple's iconic "1984" commercial.

Crafted 36 years ago by Chiat/Day and director Ridley Scott, "1984" memorably introduced the Macintosh computer, tweaking themes from George Orwell's dystopian novel of the same name. The spot portrayed other PC makers as overbearing Big Brothers, with Apple cast as the plucky rebel bringing affordable desktop computing to all.

Now, Epic blasts Apple as the oppressor, with "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite" following “1984" almost shot for shot, cleverly employing Fortnite's cartoon-y visual style:

Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite - #FreeFortnite

At the climax of "1984," a dictator type delivers a video-screen address to the cowering masses. As he says, "This power is ours and ours alone. We shall prevail," a young woman hurls a humongous hammer at the image, which explodes in a flash of light.

In Epic's version, a freaky dude with an Apple-face gives the speech, until a woman shatters the screen with a colorful unicorn-headed pickaxe from the Fortnite game.

Ultimately, this message appears: "Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming '1984,'" followed by the hashtag #FreeFortnite.

The tussle stems from Epic's introduction of a direct payment system into Fortnite's iOS app, which Apple says violates its guidelines. Google has also kicked Fortnite off the Google Play store. (Fortnite remains available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.)

Along with launching "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite" on its YouTube and Twitch channels, Epic filed a civil lawsuit against Apple. The company is also suing Google.

YouTube user Spunky posted this side-by-side comparison of the ads:

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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