This August Epic announced a kinda sus new mode for Fortnite called Imposters. As if the name wasn't enough of a clue, yes: it basically rips off Innersloth's hugely successful Among Us, aside from the inclusion of a banana who has technically appeared in federal court. Bad Epic!
This is not as clear-cut as it might seem because, of course, Among Us is a version of a game that's been around since before videogames, usually called Werewolf. But Imposters is so close to Among Us in style and structure that there's no doubt Epic used it as direct inspiration, and that is not cool. Innersloth's Victoria Tran told us at the time that Innersloth did not work with Epic on the mode, "although we would have liked to, and found out about it the same time as everyone else."
Epic has belatedly realised that, if it's going to fight high-profile legal cases where it claims to be standing up for developer rights, then ripping off a smaller developer's game without credit is probably not a good look. The first mea culpa came in some patch notes yesterday, which began “v18.20 brings improvements to Impostors, the game mode inspired by Among Us from Innersloth!”
Then, and I'm sorry about this, the follow-up arrived in the form of branter. You know, the game's official twitter accounts pretending to have a chat, a bit of banter.
Chronic. "We never got to talk about how you inspired us" is probably as close to a 'we dun goofed' as you'll get from Epic, followed by the tease that Epic and Innersloth will be "working on something fun together." A 3D Among Us mode in Fortnite would do very nicely, thanks.
Epic's climbdown may be belated but is welcome nevertheless: not least because, in the context of Fortnite's countless other partnerships, it felt a little odd that Among Us just got an unofficial copy that everyone knew was supposed to be Among Us. The larger idea here is giving credit within the games industry: for example, when a successful game starts to inspire imitators, or a popular mod gets officially incorporated into a game.
Epic tried to get away with this one, at first, but the industry reaction has been heard and acted-upon. It seems especially pointless to try and deny your inspirations in the internet age, when there will always be people who immediately recognise them (nevermind when something's as popular as Among Us).
Finally, this is also a slight cautionary note about Tim Sweeney's dream of the metaverse: Fortnite aims to become the game that just has everything in it. Which sounds kinda cool until you realise that, initially at least, Fortnite's intention here was just to incorporate Among Us without involving the Among Us creators. Hopefully the lesson has been learned.