Fortnite no longer contains police cars

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Fortnite is now a cop-free zone. Or at least free from their cars. The battle royale shed the vehicles last week with the Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3 update, in most cases replacing them with normal cars. 

Epic didn't draw attention to or even confirm the change when Kotaku reported it last week, but according to a Wall Street Journal source their removal was a response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, as well the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the world.

Earlier, Epic delayed the launch of the new season, which arrived on June 17, alluding to the protests. "We need to balance the Season 3 launch with time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities," the announcement read. Presumably this brief delay also gave Epic time to remove police cars.

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The systemic racism and police brutality that has sparked the protests is something that needs to be confronted in games, as well. As American cities start to question the role of the police, it might also be time to take a look at gaming's complicated relationship with law enforcement, which is sometimes critical, but often celebratory.

In Fortnite, at least, the removal of police cars doesn't actually have an impact on the game. They are functionally the same as the cars they've been replaced with, which is to say that they have no real function at all, aside from being something you can hide behind or salvage—which you can still do. Functional cars are on the docket, however, and we got a sneak peek at them in the launch trailer, but they won't be coming until later in the season. 

On a Reddit thread noting the change, it elicited a mixture indifference and hostility, with some criticising Epic making a "political" statement, while others were just annoyed that it affected their creative maps.  

It's not yet clear if this is a temporary or permanent change, though it seems pretty unlikely that police cars will be among the functional vehicles any time soon. 

Cheers, Eurogamer.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.