Epic Games added a new game mode to Fortnite today that sounds suspiciously like indie hit Among Us, right down to the terminology used for its antagonists.
“Impostors” pits a maximum of 10 Fortnite players against one another as they attempt to figure out who among them are out to sabotage the rest of the group. Normal competitors, known as Agents, work to complete a series of tasks across a large map, while the titular Imposters do whatever they can to hinder the group’s progress, up to and including killing other players.
But Agents aren’t without their own set of tools. Periodically, they’ll be able to vote out players they believe to be Impostors, adding a layer of social engineering to the process. Complete all your assignments or eject the two Impostors, and you win.
Of course, Among Us wasn’t the first game of its kind. It’s basically a reworked version of the party game Mafia (also known as Werewolf). That said, some have rightfully argued that Epic Games wouldn’t have been interested in adding such a mode to Fortnite without Among Us’ breakout popularity over the last couple of years. And the folks at Among Us developer Innersloth seem to agree.
“It would’ve been really, really cool to collab,” wrote Innersloth community director Victoria Tran shortly after the Fortnite reveal went live. “Like game mechanics, fine, those shouldn’t be gatekept, but at the very least even different themes or terminology makes things more interesting?”
“Everything in the world was already feeling insurmountable, so this was just another fun reminder of how tiny we all really are,” Wallick added in a follow-up tweet.
Fortnite has long been criticized for its crass amalgamation of popular culture, which in the past often materialized in the lifting of dance moves without crediting their original creators. Epic Games’ continued legal battle against Apple, which CEO Tim Sweeney has both likened to the fight for civil rights and described as a fight for the “basic freedoms of all […] developers,” only makes the new Fortnite mode’s similarity to Among Us that much more ironic.
UPDATE: 08.18.21 - 8.40am: Co-founder of Innersloth, Marcus Bromander, has since tweeted about the situation.
“We didn’t patent the Among Us mechanics,” he begins, pointing out that he doesn’t believe “that leads to a healthy game industry.” However, he continues, “Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it though?”
Another Innersloth developer, Gary Porter tweeted out the extraordinary similarity between a map used by Among Us, and that now appearing in Fortnite’s new mode.
He adds, “It’s okay tho they flipped electrical and medbay and connected security to the cafeteria.”