Among Us devs react to Fortnite's shameless 'Impostor' mode rip off
Epic Games cried bully at Apple, yet...
In the latest act of self-immolation, Epic Games has revealed its utter hypocrisy with a total and utter rip-off of InnerSloth's Among Us. The new Among Us-style Fortnite game mode sports an eerily familiar map, as well as Impostors, mimicking the hit title's social deduction gameplay.
Epic Games is among the largest players in the industry, shipping one of the world's most popular multiplayer games, boasting incredible monetization potential. The title dominates the games industry, drawing hundreds of millions of players, securing deals with brands like Nike and Marvel, and even hosting full concerts with Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. Epic Games also packages and sells the Unreal Engine, earning millions in revenue from big publishers building games on its system.
You'd think with all this bottomless well of cash that Fortnite's dev team would have the capacity to come up with original ideas. Sadly, that is not the case.
Fortnite rips off Among Us
We shouldn't exactly be surprised here, considering Fortnite is already basically a rip off of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), famously pivoting from its failed horde-style "Save the World" gameplay in a whiplash attempt to salvage what was ultimately a struggling game. Thankfully for Fortnite, its capacity for knocking things off is far better than its capacity for original ideas, and the battle royale became a big hit.
Not content with using characters from other franchises and buying up celebrity endorsements with in-game promos, Fortnite has realized that it has once again run out of original content ideas, turning to the indie scene to find what it can steal next. Unfortunately for the intrepid developers at InnerSloth, Epic Games' incurable greed turned to Among Us, the indie social deduction game that captured the imagination of millions.
🤔🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/wTESWQHJZD🤔🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/wTESWQHJZD— Gary Porter (@supergarydeluxe) August 17, 2021August 17, 2021
In the new Impostors game mode, Fortnite players effectively engage in what is identical gameplay to that of Among Us, stealing not only the map style and layout but also the famous "impostor" description, unique to Among Us' take on the genre. Considering Epic Games cried like children in court over how Apple seeks to monetize its platform, attempting to position itself as a small company being attacked by a big meanie corporation, this situation comes across as hypocritical at best, and laughably depressing at worst.
Among Us devs react
Among Us certainly didn't invent the social deduction genre, much like PUBG didn't invent the battle royale genre. The egregiousness is in how utterly brazen Epic Games is being in its wholesale theft of design and content from a smaller company, without adding a shred of uniqueness or its own spin into proceedings. I wholly expect we'll see Fortnite rip off Fall Guys or another trending game down the line as well.
Epic Games could have collaborated with Among Us, to improve the health of the industry, and help promote a smaller dev with its utterly vast cash reserves. Instead, it punched down, in a much similar way to how Epic CEO Tim Sweeney constantly claims on Twitter that how Apple treated poor little Epic Games over developer fees on the Apple iOS store. And ultimately, it's the small team at InnerSloth who end up hurt.
While being far kinder than I would be, various devs from InnerSloth chimed in to voice their bewilderment recently, confused over how Epic Games would rather steal, than collaborate.
like game mechanics fine, those shouldn't be gatekept, but at the very least even different themes or terminology makes things more interesting? 😕like game mechanics fine, those shouldn't be gatekept, but at the very least even different themes or terminology makes things more interesting? 😕— Victoria Tran 🧋 (@TheVTran) August 17, 2021August 17, 2021
We didn't patent the Among Us mechanics. I don't think that leads to a healthy game industry. Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it though?We didn't patent the Among Us mechanics. I don't think that leads to a healthy game industry. Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it though?— Puff (@PuffballsUnited) August 17, 2021August 17, 2021
Reach out if you wanna do an @AmongUsGame collab, we have a few cool ones in the works! 🧡Reach out if you wanna do an @AmongUsGame collab, we have a few cool ones in the works! 🧡— Callum Uwunderwood (@DevRelCallum) August 17, 2021August 17, 2021
Epic Games, epic hypocrisy
Epic and Apple actually have a lot in common. Just like Apple, Epic often builds on established ideas, even back as far as Unreal Tournament, which took inspiration from Quake. Epic is to video gaming what Apple is to the tech world, taking ideas other companies put forward and using their vast cash reserves to present them in a slightly more polished way. A cynic might suggest Tim Sweeney's lawsuit against Apple could be seen as a very, very expensive psychological projection. And hey, I am a cynic.
Epic Games is the very definition of hypocrisy, and this likely won't be the last time we see the firm commit wholesale intellectual theft rather than come up with new ideas. What's next? Fortnite Gear Solid? Super Fortnite Bros? Legend of Fortnite? Only time will tell.
For the price of a Fortnite hat
Among Us is awesome.
Among Us is a social deduction game where players aboard a spaceship are stuck with imposter mutants who want nothing more than to devour their brains. Keep your eyes peeled and try to deduce which players are the imposters, or die trying.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
I don't bother with EPIC games (not my style) so I don't know if fortnite features bots, good, bad or indiferent, but if not they probably will soon enough. And they'll teabag. The Apple comparison is quite apt but at least Apple puts on a fresh coat of paint on what they copy. FWI, the (kind) technical term is "close follower". Although Apple lately hasn't been following close enough or particularly well in areas like ebooks, connected speakers, home automation, cloud, or streaming video. That's the danger of that strategy. They still do pretty well on phones, I hear, though. Can't be surprised, though; EPIC, like EA, ACTIVISION, and yes Apple, aren't run by techies anymore. Their ethics are more predatory MBA than techie innovator so expecting vision and innovation is too much to ask of their top managers. They are what they are and it is really up to the customers to reward or punish them. If imposter mode succedes, they'll carry on as is, laughing all the way to the bank.
But this isn't an issue of legality but of ethics. Imagine if a hot dog cart vendor came up with a popular variation--say a honey flavored bun--that grew so popular folks would queue up at lunch time to buy their product and it got network TV coverage. Then a giant multinational fast food chain copied the idea and sold the copied hot dogs for a pittance all over, undercutting the original, putting them out of business. Contrast this with the current fast food fight among giant multinationals--Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, POPEYE'S, etc--all copying the CHICK-FIL-A signature chicken sandwich, a fight for market share among equals or near equals instead of a predatory multinational looking to get a free ride off the innovative work of a smaller player, possibly putting them out of business. This isn't EPIC copying another free to play game from EA or ACTIVISION, but instead undercutting a small indie developer whose existence may very well hinge on their creation's sales. Why would a gamer pay for AMONG US when FORTNITE is free to play? In a world where "FREE!" drives vast masses? The small inovator gets squeezed out by the big and lazy giant? Yes, it is perfectly legal, but is this something that should be shrugged off? Encouraged? Legality is the absolute minimum standard of behavior that a state will tolerate, ethics is a higher standard, what a society expects of its best. EPIC is nowhere near that and needs to be called out or every Indie developer will be at risk of being put out of business by copycat code mills. What kind of gaming world do we want, a legalistic one run by the crew with tbe biggest army of lawyers or an ethical one?
Doing it once doesn't give them a free pass, but doing it again and again...Awful.