This August Epic announced a new mod for Fortnite called Imposters. As if the name weren’t enough of a clue, yes: It’s basically Innersloth’s hugely successful Among Us, aside from involving a banana that’s technically appeared in federal court. Bad epic!
It’s not as obvious as it might seem because, of course, there’s a version of a game among us that’s been around since before video games, commonly called a werewolf. But the Imposters are so close among us in style and structure that there’s no doubt that Epic used it as a direct inspiration, and that’s no good. Innersloth’s Victoria Tran told us at the time that Innersloth hadn’t worked with Epic on the mod, “though we loved it, and found out about it at the same time as everyone else.”
Epic has realized of late that, if it’s going to fight high-profile legal cases where it claims to stand up for developer rights, then breaking a small developer’s game without credit is probably a good look. Not there. The first mew culprit came out in some patch notes yesterday, that started “v18.20 brings improvements to Imposters, game mode inspired by Innersloth from Among Us!”
Then, and I’m sorry about that, the follow-up came in as milder. You know, the game’s official Twitter account pretends to be chatting, a little bit of a joke.
long term. “We Never Talked About How You Inspired Us” is probably as close to a ‘we fool’ as you’d get from Epic, followed by the teasing that Epic and Innersloth would “do some fun things together.” A 3D As Us mode would work great in Fortnite, thanks.
Epic’s ascent may have been delayed, but it’s welcome nonetheless: not least because, in the context of Fortnite’s countless other partnerships, it felt a little strange that Us Among Us just got an unofficial copy that everyone knows. Was that she should be among us. The big idea here is to give credit within the game industry: for example, when a successful game begins to inspire imitators, or a popular mod officially joins a game.
Epic tried to get away with it at first, but the industry’s feedback was listened to and acted upon. Trying to deny your motivations seems especially pointless in the age of the Internet, when there will always be people who recognize them immediately (no matter when something is as popular as among us).
In the end, it’s also a minor caveat about Tim Sweeney’s dream of the Metaverse: Fortnite aims to be the game that has just about everything. Which sounds great until you realize that, initially at least, Fortnite was intended here to include only the midst of us without being involved. Hope the lesson has been learned.