Epic Games have seemingly removed all police cars from Fortnite, after the death of George Floyd and the subsequent riots and protests.
The post came amid the protests and subsequent riots across the US over the death of George Floyd. This has also resulted in delays and postponements by PlayStation, EA [1, 2], EA Sports, IGN, Guerrilla Collective, along with Activision and Infinity Ward with the Call of Duty franchise [1, 2].
Other video game companies have also took part in Blackout Tuesday (changing their profile pictures to a solid black image, along with only posting a solid black image on social media that day), and have offered donations or organized fund-raisers.
A Riot Games executive had reportedly resigned, after an internal investigation due to a Facebook post he made highlighting George Floyd’s criminal history. Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez (also known as FChamp) had also been banned from all Capcom fighting game tournaments globally, after he made a joke about “Watermelon Lives Matter.”
Earlier this month, Fortnite’s Chapter 2 of Season 3 was postponed. “Recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color. We’re acutely aware of the pain our friends, families, team members, players, and communities are experiencing.”
Epic Games continued, “We believe in equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, and that these fundamentals are above politics. The team is eager to move Fortnite forward, but we need to balance the Season 3 launch with time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities.”
The update launched on June 16th, dubbed Splashdown. Flooding large sections of the map, and letting users drive motorboats. As the map had usually been littered with cars, and with hints on the official website, many suspected they could drive cars in future updates.
However, users began to notice locations that would usually have police cars had been replaced with different civilian vehicles. Others noticed the Junk Rift (an item which spawn a portal that hurls random objects at players) would launch a police car; that would turn into a normal car when it hit the ground.
While on the surface it appears that Epic Games may have removed the police cars from the game as an anti-police stance, some have theorized it is to prevent users from doing anything that could be controversial.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “according to a person familiar with the game’s development,” removing police cars is for that reason. “I wouldn’t say it’s a political statement. I think it’s just us being sensitive about the issues many people in our audience are dealing with.”
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Fortnite is available on Windows PC, Mac (both via the Epic Games Store), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, and Holiday 2020 on PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X.
Image: Fortnite official website