It’s difficult to deny Fortnite’s runaway success over the last few years. And if you’ve been anywhere near a PC, PS5 or Xbox Series X there’s a high chance you’ve tried the game out for yourself. As a battle royale, Fortnite bears a much more colorful, inviting aesthetic than competitors like PUBG or Call of Duty: Warzone. It’s also highly polished and introduced the moreish Battle Pass system that others have since copied.
Yet in spite of its ease of access and introduction of the Battle Pass, Fortnite arguably takes far more than it gives. The most recent exhibit of that being the game’s new Impostors mode. The 10-player mode sees Agents aim to complete tasks and survive while attempting to figure out which players have taken the role of the murderous impostors.
Sounds pretty familiar, right? Well it should, because it’s basically Among Us. The core concept of the popular multiplayer game seems to have been ripped wholesale for use in Fortnite. Taking inspiration is one thing, but upon viewing the trailer for the Impostors mode, it’s easy to see that Epic Games isn’t even hiding how blatantly similar the mode actually is.
Among Us developer Innersloth isn’t best pleased about the situation, as you could imagine. The company’s community director, Victoria Tran, had this to say about Fortnite’s Impostors mode: “It would’ve been really, really cool to collab…
“Like game mechanics, fine, those shouldn’t be gatekept, but at the very least even different themes or terminology makes things more interesting?”
Tran is correct in that game mechanics absolutely shouldn’t be gatekept. Among Us itself borrows mechanics from the social deduction game Mafia (also known as Werewolf). Plus the fact that most (if not all) video games have taken inspiration from somewhere, and we often see refined game mechanics (such as aiming down the sights of a gun, or the convenience of a double jump) be adopted universally.
But if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Fortnite must be seriously enamored with Among Us. Because as Tran rightly points out, the new Impostors mode is similar right down to individual gameplay quirks and terminology.
Of course, this isn’t even the first time Fortnite has borrowed so liberally from other properties. The game itself only skyrocketed into the mainstream after the release of its battle royale mode that generously borrowed gameplay elements and ideas that were established by the likes of H1Z1 and PUBG, while adopting the fast-paced building of Minecraft. In fact, it was so on the nose that the developers of PUBG initially sought to sue Epic Games as a result.
While Fortnite’s gameplay isn’t an issue in and of itself, it’s indicative of the game’s biggest flaw. While Fortnite certainly does lead in terms of concurrent players and overall popularity, it’s always been a follower in terms of its content. Fortnite constantly chases whatever’s popular in the moment and forms a content plan around that.
It’s something I’ve been critical of in the past when it comes to Fortnite’s abundance of guest character skins. Sure, it’s kind of cool that Harley Quinn can get into a scrap with Master Chief, but once the novelty wears off, it’s easy to see Fortnite for a cynical amalgamation of whatever’s popular in the moment.
Impostors could have been so much more
I think what gets me most about this situation is how Fortnite takes these ideas and simply adopts them without giving credit. The Impostors mode takes so liberally from Among Us that I feel like at least some credit is due to the inspiration. And as mentioned, Innersloth itself sounded like it would’ve been open to a collaboration with Fortnite.
But once again, this is something Fortnite has a history with. Many of those dance emotes you’ve been collecting in Fortnite have original, uncredited creators. Once more, Fortnite seems to have lifted these without permission to cash in on phenomena it had no hand in creating.
At this point, Fortnite’s reliance on other media to bolster its roadmap is tiring. And the crazy part? It doesn’t even need to do this. Fortnite, in spite of it all, is an extremely fun battle royale and is absolutely packed with things to do, thanks to the Battle Pass and its often clever integration of season objectives and in-game events and concerts.
These alone make the game worth checking out and coming back to, not its shallow attempts to adopt a popular game mode from a much smaller developer. What’s next, Fortnite Kart? Let’s not tempt fate on that one.