Epic Games said Tuesday that its Fortnite Impostors mode — which is essentially a stylized Among Us remake — is, unsurprisingly, inspired by developer Innersloth’s social deception game. Both Innersloth and Epic Games appear to be teasing a crossover event, too.
The message is just a quick reference to Among Us as Impostors’ inspiration, coming in a blog about Fortnite’s latest patch notes. But it is important, because Epic Games was sharply criticized by Innersloth developers and fans on social media for not originally crediting Impostors’ inspiration. Also, the mode’s name is a direct reference to Among Us’ alien infiltrators, which are called impostors in-game.
“We didn’t patent Among Us mechanics,” Innersloth co-founder Marcus Bromander tweeted in August. “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?”
Many Among Us fans on social media pointed to Fortnite and Epic’s massive size, compared to Innersloth and Among Us’ small studio. In reference to Fortnite’s new mode, Among Us programmer Adriel Wallick wrote she felt “bummed” by the Impostors mode: “This was just another fun reminder of how tiny we all really are.” Innersloth community director Victoria Tran added that “it would’ve been really really cool to collab.”
Other critics pointed to Epics’ ongoing battles with Apple over what Epic says is its illegal monopoly. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has repeatedly claimed that the company is “fighting for fair competition” for all developers, big and small, on the App Store — but some noted that the Among Us clone, without reference to Among Us, went against those principles.
Polygon has reached out to both Innersloth and Epic Games for comment.
Epic found itself in a similar situation in 2018, when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer PUBG Corp. sued the Fortnite maker over its popular battle royale mode. Fortnite, originally released as a PvE base-building game; it added its battle royale portion — now the main game — in September 2017, and PUBG Corp. claimed that Epic copied PUBG’s core features and rules. PUBG Corp. dropped the claim in 2018.
Update: Following the patch notes, Epic Games and Among Us developer Innersloth began teasing a potential crossover. The two developers tweeted at each other Tuesday: “We never got to talk about how you inspired us,” Epic said via the Fortnite account. “What do you think about working on something fun together sometime?”
Among Us developer Innersloth tweeted back: “Have ur Agents contact our Crewmates.”
Big fans! We never got to talk about how you inspired us. What do you think about working on something fun together sometime?
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) October 12, 2021
No word yet on what the crossover may be.