Many people noticed last week following the release of Fortnite’s new season that the police cars that used to be present around the map weren’t there anymore. While the vehicles weren’t driveable, their noted absence drew attention from those who thought Epic was trying to make a political statement.
But a source cited by the Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Needleman says that the move wasn’t about politics as much as it was about adapting to today’s social climate.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a political statement,” the source told WSJ. “It’s just us being sensitive about the issues many people in our audience are dealing with.”
The Wall Street Journal did not identify its source other than to say that it’s a person “familiar with the game’s development.” Following a slew of Twitter commentary, Epic has still not publicly commented on the situation.
This move by Epic comes following a stretch of social unrest and protests in the U.S. after the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis last month. Since video of his murder went viral almost one month ago, there have been mass protests in most major cities calling for racial equality and police reform.
This isn’t Epic’s first act of awareness. At the beginning of June, the developer released a statement expressing its belief in equality and justice, adding “these fundamentals are above politics.” At that time, Epic announced that it was delaying an in-game live event, “The Device,” to account for the serious social circumstances going on in the country.