Interested in knowing what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming CEOs to discuss emerging parts of the industry in October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Learn more.
What will the shoes look like in the metaverse? Better yet, what would it look like as part of the landscape in Fortnite?
We see the answers to these questions in art created by Epic Games, Timberland, and a group of shoe designers and artists known as ConceptKicks. And some of this “metabolism” art is created within Fortnite.
The two companies have worked together to create a one-of-a-kind design innovation experience that blends the physical and virtual worlds to reimagine product design and engage consumers on the journey, Timberland chief marketing officer Drake Linkengett said in an interview with GamesBeat.
Timberland, headquartered in Stratham, New Hampshire, is best known for the yellow work shoe it created in 1973, and is now an environmentally popular brand.
Timberland launched a program called Construct: 10061, this time focusing on virtual design.
“Shoes are in our blood, in our DNA, and we have a very synthetic design lens,” Linkingt said. “It’s about making shoes that work with the heart. Construction is an expression of that. And so Construct is an initiative that started two years ago as a definitive expression of the need for us as a footwear-driven innovation company.”
The company invites gamers and shoe enthusiasts from all over the world to enter the world of design, creativity and innovation – highlighted by the immersive gaming experience in Fortnite.
“We choose carefully who we partner with. For us, it’s really important to partner with companies and entities that are flexible in their thinking, creative, that really look at what’s happening and go on a journey with us,” said Raffaella Camera, Head of Brands, Unreal Engine. At Epic Games, in an interview with GamesBeat.”Working with Timberland has been fantastic for us and has been able to show how our 3D real-time tools, library tools, and technology can help transform the apparel and fashion industry from concept to consumer.”
“This year, with the booms and busts of the coronavirus, people weren’t allowed to be together physically,” said Linkingt. “We were preparing for our new construction workshop. And with this full acceleration in creating 3D and digital designs for shoes, we made this leap in quantum leap due to COVID.”
Elements of a multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder project include:
- Timberland Design Lab and Maker Space, in Fortnite: Get a rare glimpse into Timberland’s footwear innovation and design process by visiting Fortnite’s Virtual Design Lab – a recreation of the brand’s real-world innovation lab and maker space.
- Meta Design Workshop: Footwear creators from Timberland’s Advanced Concepts & Energy (ACE) team, ConceptKicks and Construct: 10061 paired with digital creators from Fortnite Creative studio BeyondCreative for a design-and-build workshop that took place entirely in the Timberland Virtual Design Lab in Fortnite.
- The result was four stunning Metaboots – including a replica of the popular yellow boot, as well as three original boots inspired by the custom outdoor biomes created as part of the project.
- Timberland Parkour Trails: This immersive gaming experience takes place on a custom Fortnite island featuring arctic regions, deserts, and jungles. After visiting the Design Lab, players face challenges and obstacles in each biome, unlocking special effects when they reach the Metaboots and return the samples to the lab.
- Metaboots, in AR: Forest Metaboot has been recreated in HD using Unreal Engine and can be viewed and accessed in AR through Sketchfab. The AR boot appears on backgrounds that are modeled on a forest biome and built with Quixel Megascans from Unreal Engine.
- Prototype Shoes, AR: Eight physical models from a recent IRL workshop were also scanned and placed on biome-inspired backgrounds using the Unreal Engine and Quixel Megascans. It can also be accessed in AR through Sketchfab.
This all sounds a little crazy, but it’s not so crazy if you think the metaverse is about to happen. We’re in a time of experimentation where fantasy projects like putting on shoes in the Fornite scene make perfect sense.
Here is a code to view the Timberland Parkour Trails experience in Fortnite: Game Code: 4313-0063-0736.
“Timberland is built on a foundation of footwear innovation; our partnership with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine allows us to explore new dimensions as we envision the future of shoemaking and boot culture,” Leenknegt said. “We brought the collaboration model into the metaverse by inviting innovators like Daniel Bailey, Zixiong Wei, and Aisha Kujk to co-create Metaboots with our ACE designers in Fortnite. At the same time, we invite consumers into the world of design innovation within an amazing Fortnite experience. Connectivity capabilities in The metaverse is endless.”
Linknet referred to Bailey as an expert on shoe culture and sneaker culture.
The Construct:10061 Fortnite experience launched at Orefici11 flagship store in Timberland during Design Week in Milan, where guests will inspect physical prototypes, watch live play and participate in real time as the fifth Metaboot is created in Fortnite.
“To drive them in their thinking, we started Construct, which is about inviting outside designers on a yearly basis to meet with our innovators and drive design innovation forward,” Leenkneght said.
The brand chose Ali “SypherPK” Hasan, who started making videos in the sixth grade and has grown into one of the most popular Fortnite players/creators in the world.
“Timberland has built a legacy around some of the most beloved footwear products, thanks in large part to an innovative and forward-thinking mindset,” Camera said. “By utilizing tools based on the Unreal Engine and virtual worlds, fans of the brand have the opportunity to engage with Timberland ® shoes in ways not possible today, while designers can innovate and collaborate in entirely new ways, with the help of Time 3D technology. It’s exciting to imagine where we can take this together.” “.
Launched in 2018, every year, Construct: 10061 brings together the best shoe innovators and innovators from around the world to rethink the shoe industry and push its boundaries. For the S22, Construct is entering the metaverse for the first time.
The team took the concept of metabolic processes and gave it to sneaker and shoe enthusiasts so they could participate and engage with their metabolic processes.
“By connecting artists and creators from different industries, we challenge and learn from each other and often have ideas we didn’t come up with ourselves,” Daniel Bailey, Founder and Creative Director of ConceptKicks, said in a statement. “This season we have brought a completely different medium into the mix with Fortnite. It has been great to see how the builders from BeyondCreative can interpret and manipulate existing elements to try to create the shoe designers’ vision.”
The creative strategy in bringing Construct: 10061 to Fortnite was led by Metavision, the metaverse agency.
“For this project, we were really interested in capturing the design process and showing how Metaboots came to be,” said Luke Price, Metavision’s creative director, in a statement. “It has been a pleasure collaborating with creators from different disciplines at BeyondCreative and Construct, learning about each other’s patterns and influences, and creating some great stuff. Metavision is focused on finding new ways to engage with audiences and tell stories in the metaverse and it has been great working with Timberland and partners who share this spirit.”
Leenknegt said it’s important to get fans involved in the process and tell the stories behind the iconic brands, prototypes and collectibles. She said that the experience with this project was related to the design, so the team did not work with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“For me, it’s about amazing storytelling and consumers want to be a part of your story telling,” Leenknegt said. “They want to co-create it with you.”
Designs will be displayed in stores. I asked if they would consider including the designs within the Fortnite universe. But Leenknegt said that’s what they have now and will do more in the future. The camera said she had no intention of putting the designs into a battle royale.
“We use the full suite of tools we have from Unreal Engine itself to Quixel Megascans to Sketchfab and all the way to Fornite to help set up the metabolic processes,” Camera said.
“The collaboration we are having with Epic and Unreal Engine is really from concept to consumer,”
Linkingit He said. “We saw the potential to work with Epic and Unreal Engine to bring the design innovation process into true dimensions. And that’s what led us to this wonderful collaboration.”
GamesBeat creed When gaming industry coverage is “where passion meets work”. What does this mean? We want to tell you how important the news is to you – not only as a decision maker in a game studio, but also as a game fan. Whether you’re reading our articles, listening to our podcasts, or watching our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy interacting with it. Learn more about membership.