Fortnite’s new game mode called Impostors is sus, as they say. The reason why it’s sus centers around the startling number of similarities between the Impostors mode and the massively popular indie game, Among Us.
— Gary Porter (@supergarydeluxe) August 17, 2021
The space locale, map layout, and even use of the word “Impostor” all feel a little too close to Among Us for comfort. In the official announcement post for Impostors, the game mode is also described in a way that feels way too similar to the Crewmate and Impostor dynamic of Among Us to be a mere coincidence.
“Fortnite Impostors is a mode for a maximum of ten players: eight Agents maintaining The Bridge and two Impostors out to overtake it.”
Honestly, the entire announcement post and description of how the Impostors mode is played in Fortnite raises a number of red flags.
“Work together to root out anyone masquerading as a fellow Agent, but trust nobody completely — anyone could be an Impostor. If you find a fellow Agent’s eliminated fragment, report it! Everyone will be teleported to The Bridge where you can inform Agents who you suspect might have betrayed the IO and vote them out.”
You have to perform maintenance tasks, report bodies you find, and vote out whoever you think is the Impostor. Sounds exactly like Among Us, right? To make matters worse, this isn’t an official collaboration.
Fortnite’s Imposters mode was created without the permission of the Among Us team, InnerSloth, as indicated by the team’s response. According to PuffballsUnited, co-founder of InnerSloth, they’ve been actively trying to collaborate with Epic Games.
The opportunity was there, but Epic Games didn’t take it.
The Among Us team have acknowledged that they don’t own the gameplay mechanics of Among Us, but with that being said, also expressed disappointment in the fact that Epic Games didn’t try harder to make the Impostors mode more unique.
“We didn’t patent the Among Us mechanics. I don’t think that leads to a healthy game industry,” PuffballsUnited explained on Twitter. “Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it though?”
Someone replied to this by asking if the team could “patent Mafia” in the first place, which PuffballsUnited replied:
“If WB can patent a Nemesis System and Square can patent the ATB system we could patent the tasks system for example.”
Even though Among Us is similar to Mafia – and other social deduction games like Among Us and Mafia exist – the issue the developers have with Fortnite’s Impostors mode is simply that it’s too much of a mirror image of Among Us.
And it’s not unreasonable to take issue with that.
This wouldn’t be the first time Epic Games has replicated a popular idea in a way that’s a little too close for creative comfort, either. A great example is Fortnite’s battle royale mode itself.
Epic Games was actually sued by Bluehole for copyright infringement back in 2018 due to the similarities between Fortnite’s interpretation of battle royale and PUBG’s interpretation of battle royale.
PUBG originally released in March of 2017 as an indie game and consisted of 100 players who are dropped into the map from above, have to search for weapons and supplies of various rarities as the map gradually reduces in size, and eliminate enemies until the last person left standing is crowned the winner.
Six months after the release of PUBG came Fortnite’s battle royale mode which likewise featured 100 players being dropped into the map from above, the map gradually reducing in size, players needing to search buildings for weapons and supplies of various rarities, and the last player left standing being crowned the winner.
According to a statement made at the time by PUBG publisher Bluehole, they were taking action against Epic for, “Replicating the experience for which ‘PUBG’ is known.” Bluehole eventually dropped the lawsuit.
However, other lawsuits were filed against Epic Games including ones from rapper 2 Milly, actor Alfonso Ribeiro, and social media star “Backpack Kid” who all filed lawsuits against Epic Games for copying their signature dance moves, putting them in Fortnite as Emotes, and then profiting off them.
Responding to the controversy at the time, Chance the Rapper tweeted out an excellent point:
“Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them.”
Similar to Bluehole, other lawsuits against Epic Games were eventually dropped. Which is unfortunate, because if Epic never has to face consequences, what reason do they have to alter the way they conduct business? It’s frustrating to think about.
As for what all of these legal issues have in common with the latest controversy over Epic Games taking a little too much from Among Us for their Impostors mode, it’s that (for the most part) the reason behind the lawsuits stem from the lack of permission, credit, and monetary compensation from Epic.
It’s also the sheer lack of creativity on Epic’s end as the battle royale formula wasn’t all that different from PUBG at launch, and the same goes for the Impostors mode. You can’t play Impostors and not immediately think, “This is like Among Us.”
If Epic Games doesn’t want to change Impostors and make it more unique in order to separate itself from Among Us, it should at the very least reach out and ask for permission as the developers had already expressed an interest in collaborating.
Could you imagine how cool an official collaboration with Among Us would have been, especially with the alien theme of Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 7?
We personally think an official Among Us collab would have been amazing, and it’s one of the many reasons why we’re extremely disappointed in Epic Games for the way they handled the creation and release of their Impostors mode.
We hope Epic Games will consider making the situation right by reaching out to the Among Us dev team and working with them on a proper collaboration. That is, if the Among Us dev team is even still interested in collaborating at this point, we wouldn’t blame them if they weren’t.
And until attempts are made to make the situation right, we feel like it’s worth taking a closer look at whether Fortnite (and Epic) are worth supporting. Right now, the answer feels like a strong, resounding, “No.”
To end on a more positive note, if you want to support the developers of Among Us right now as an individual, you can absolutely do so by purchasing a copy of the game. It’s $4.99 (USD) on platforms including Steam and Nintendo Switch, and it’s an absolute blast.
Related: Among Us Will Release on PS4 and PS5 Later This Year