The new mode, titled Fortnite Impostors, pits groups of 10 players in a survival scenario similar to the core concept of Among Us. Up to eight players run around a confined space trying to accomplish tasks (the “Agents”) while the remaining two players lie, backstab, and manipulate their way into killing all the other players (the “Impostors.”)
The mode’s announcement appears to have rubbed some at Innersloth the wrong way. Innersloth community manager Victorian Tran told Axios that the team would have “loved to collaborate” with Epic Games on an Among Us mode.
Gamasutra spotted another employee at the small company tweeting out a link to Anthony Clark’s “I made this” comic, which seemed like a subtle dig at Epic making their own game mode.
Innersloth obviously doesn’t have ownership of social deduction games, but Fortnite Impostors seems to fudge the line between inspiration and appropriation. It doesn’t just use the noun of “Impostor” (spelled differently, it turns out) for its killer role as popularized by Among Us, it also features a tasks system and special powers for that player.
This feels vaguely similar to how Fortnite: Battle Royale launched as a fast-follow after PUBG: Battlegrounds (formerly PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) debuted in 2016. Again, Epic Games borrowed non-copyrightable elements without stepping on PUBG’s intellectual property, but developer Krafton (then called Bluehole) expressed similar frustration in the months that followed.
PUBG: Battlegrounds creator Brendan Greene would later go on to express support for Epic’s entry into the Battle Royale genre at GDC 2018.
Extra disappointing for the Innersloth developers is the fact that Epic seems entirely willing to collaborate with other video game developers to feature their characters…if it’s a marketing promotion.
Video game heroes like Halo’s Master Chief and Street Fighter’s Chun-Li and Ryu have become playable characters in Fortnite. It’s eyebrow-raising that Epic apparently didn’t make any similar consideration for the Bean people of Among Us.