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Among Us developers push back on Fortnite’s ‘Impostors’ mode

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‘Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort,’ Innersloth co-founder tweets

Artwork of Fortnite Impostors mode, featuring multiple agents on the Bridge Image: Epic Games

Fortnite’s new limited-time event, Impostors, is basically a straight lift of Among Us. Not only that, it’s the second time in nine months Epic Games’ battle royale has detoured into Innersloth’s turf, and their developers aren’t happy with it.

“Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it though?” tweeted Marcus Bromander, the studio’s co-founder. Programmer Adriel Wallick posted a link to a webcomic, more or less accusing Epic of taking their work. Gary Porter, another programmer, compared Impostors’ map to Among Us’ spaceship, The Skeld, suggesting that Epic had gone so far as to crib its layout, too:

Impostors, announced yesterday, even takes its name from Among Us’s alien infiltrators. In the Fortnite event, a group of 10 players is trying to discover who among them are the two Impostors. The Impostors are trying to eliminate these Agents without being discovered; Agents are trying to complete tasks that will get their starship to its destination safely. The group routinely meets to discuss who the Impostors might be, and accuse others of being one. All of these are core features of Among Us’ gameplay loop.

Bromander said his studio didn’t try to patent or copyright Among Us’s game mechanics as “I don’t think that leads to a healthy game industry.” It’s also not clear whether those features, as opposed to actual computer code or unique visual designs, could get patent or copyright protections.

In 2018, the makers of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sued Epic Games over Fortnite Battle Royale, the mode that Epic launched in September 2017. Fortnite Battle Royale turned what had been a PvE base-building game into a worldwide esports phenomenon, and an extremely lucrative one at that. PUBG had launched in early access the preceding spring, and many of its battle royale rules and features are replicated in Fortnite. But a month after bringing the lawsuit in Korea, PUBG Corp. dropped the claim, after reaching a confidential settlement with Epic.

Polygon reached out on Wednesday morning to an Epic Games representative for the company’s reaction to Innersloth’s remarks, and the public perception that Fortnite has again copied one of the most popular gaming formats of the moment. We haven’t heard back as of publication time.

On Tuesday, Callum Underwood, a business representative for Innersloth, tweeted that the studio and Among Us are open to collaborations and cross-overs, and keep stock contracts on-hand to fill in with the particulars of such arrangements. “Just ask and if you follow some basic rules it’s usually fine,” Underwood wrote.

Fortnite is no stranger to cross-overs, of course — it’s been the game’s stock-in-trade for all of the current year of content. Fortnite has done video game crossovers with Sony’s God of War, Capcom’s Street Fighter, and 2K Games’ Borderlands, over the past two years. We’ve also asked Epic Games whether it considered, or would consider, a formal collaboration with Innersloth and Among Us.