In what would appear to be the latest attempt by a company to pull out of anything even approaching controversial, Epic Games has reportedly removed cop cars from Fortnite, according to both the Wall Street Journal and some suspicious/eagle-eyed Redditors. This development may also represent the latest (and definitely not last) instance of a company creating news out of a thing that otherwise would've gone unnoticed or unremarked upon.
We'll leave that up to you.
The Journal reports that cop cars were silently taken out of gameplay following last week's launch of a new season. These cars have been replaced with civilian vehicles. That said, these vehicles were merely decorative, and were not able to be commandeered by players (at least not yet, that's reportedly coming). Junk rifts, an item type that previously had the ability to spawn police cars, now churn out regular cars as well.
In what is a very good summary sentence of the current moment we're living in (even if it's not intended) "a person familiar with the game's development" said the decision was diplomatic in nature, and that it shouldn't be interpreted as support for any anti-police sentiments currently being publicly expressed, including calls for defunding departments.
However, Epic has not given an official comment on the decision, leaving all of this open to interpretation.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a political statement. I think it’s just us being sensitive about the issues many people in our audience are dealing with,” said that source to the WSJ. Earlier in June, Epic stated that it would be postponing an end-of-season event due to protests over the death of George Floyd.
"We’re acutely aware of the pain our friends, families, team members, players and communities are experiencing,” the company wrote in a blog post at the time. "We believe in equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, and that these fundamentals are above politics.”