Fortnite, the most popular video game in the world, has quietly removed police cars from its newest season. The revelation came as Chapter 2, Season 3 launched, but there has been no formal announcement from Epic Games.
However, a source told the Wall Street Journal that the move was not meant to be a political statement, but was instead an effort to be sensitive about some of the issues facing gamers playing the game.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a political statement,” the source said. “I think it’s just us being sensitive about the issues many people in our audience are dealing with.”
In some cases where cop cars may have been previously used, you can see they were replaced with regular vehicles as shown by a player who was able to use Junk Rift to show the slight change.
— thegamingmineblo (@thegamingminebl) June 21, 2020
While Epic Games has not directly addressed the change, it did previously address the ongoing political climate in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Epic Games had delayed the rollout of Fortnite’s newest season because of the protests.
“Recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color,” Epic Games said in a blog post announcing the move, via CNN.com. “The team is eager to move Fortnite forward, but we need to balance the Season 3 launch with time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the back of his neck for nearly 8 minutes while Floyd pleaded for air. He was just 46 years old. The ex-officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested had his charges upgraded to second-degree murder. The three other officers involved — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.