Early (and I mean early) this morning, Epic Games unveiled the next season of its mega-popular battle royale shooter Fortnite. As is often the case, there’s a bunch of cool, new stuff for players to mess around with in-game, but in my mind the biggest development is the death of Fornite mascot Peely, the terrible banana skin that has haunted Kotaku editor Riley MacLeod since he debuted in 2019.
Let me be blunt for a moment: Peely is grotesque. I’m all for anthropomorphized fruit, but there’s just something about Peely that feels off. Maybe it’s the huge, dead eyes. Maybe it’s the oddly muscular arms and legs. I can’t quite put my finger on it; Peely just sets off that fight or flight response that helped our ancestors live to see another day. I’m guessing that humans evolved alongside an ancient race of banana people that have since gone extinct, but we’re probably not ready to have that conversation.
In any case, Peely is dead now, blown to pulp by one of Ryu’s fireballs.
I know, I know, I’m pretty excited too, but before you start throwing parades in the street, remember that Fortnite has a history when it comes to seemingly putting Peely out of his misery.
Back in Season 9, Jonesy (the closest thing this massive game has to a main character) turned Peely into a smoothie to survive while locked in a bunker. Peely was also frozen in carbonite to announce the Mandalorian’s arrival to the Fortnite universe late last year. We’ve even seen Peely being hunted by the Predator, a scenario few survive. But every time, the awful banana man has come back to torture us, typically while cribbing dance moves from the real world.
I hope beyond hope that Peely has truly expired from this mortal coil, but something in the back of my mind tells me he’ll be back. At this point, Peely’s more like a force of nature than a character, a flossing phenomenon that the universe sees fit to revive over and over again. While Fortnite may rightly be criticised for sucking up every intellectual property in existence and reducing them to soulless husks of what they once were, we should probably be more grateful that its creators don’t spend that time bringing more monstrosities into existence.
Fortnite devs, blink twice if Peely is no longer under your control.