The developers behind the megapopular video game Fortnite have reportedly removed police cars from the game in response to the national debate surrounding law-enforcement practices and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Epic Games, the creators of perhaps the most popular video game in America, Fortnite, have removed all police vehicles from the game as protests against law enforcement continue across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Fortnite is one of the most popular video games in the world with more than 350 million players as of May according to developer Epic Games. Fortnite is big business — in July of 2019, Epic Games held the first Fortnite World Cup with a prize pool of $30 million, and the winner of the solo tourney took home $3 million.
The game world normally features police cars and other vehicles, and many of the familiar in-game vehicles remained following the launch of a new game season and new map. But police cars were removed according to an individual familiar with the game’s development.
“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,” this person said. Epic did not respond to a request for comment from the WSJ. The firm was last valued at $15 billion in 2018 and also licenses software to other game developers.
The police cars in Fortnite were not driveable by players, but instead could be be used for cover or destroyed for their materials, like almost every object in Fortnite. Although police vehicles do not play a major role in the game, the decision to remove them was noticed immediately by players. One Reddit user wrote: “Yikes. The anti-cop sentiment is reaching everything. Sad times.”
Others on social media mocked the move as a limp gesture:
Fortnite after removing police cars pic.twitter.com/nBOcUYTvnD
— DjChill (@DjChill_) June 22, 2020
racism and police brutality after fortnite removes cop cars pic.twitter.com/Ekbi0t8xH3
— Blastdude (@blastdude_) June 22, 2020
Many others in the video game industry have expressed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks. Electronic Arts promised to donate $1 million to organizations “dedicated to the fight for racial justice in the U.S. and against discrimination around the world.” Other companies such as Activision have included in-game messages relating to Black Lives Matter in popular titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org