In a bid to further integrate Fortnite into the apparently burgeoning “metaverse,” Epic Games has rolled out an age rating system for all cosmetics and experiences. Certain skins (officially known as “Oufits”) and other Locker items will now be disabled in creative maps based on the experience’s age rating.
[November 21, 2023] Update #2: Epic Games announced that, with the v28.00 update on December 3, 2023, they will reverse cosmetic gating. However, a few cosmetics (less than ten Outfits) will remain locked to T-rated islands. The blog post ended with the quote, “We’ve been deep in the comments over the past few days and we’ll keep working on getting this right.”
[November 16, 2023] Update #1: Epic Games released a statement on X shortly after this article went live. “ About 7% of Fortnite Outfits can only be equipped in islands rated Teen. Over the next year we will enable most of these Outfits to be compatible with all ratings by having them auto-adjust appearance based on the island you want to play.“
Following the change, Epic has also removed this Season’s initial loading screen and promotional images on websites like Twitch, replacing them with generic weapon-free versions devoid of their original charm. Guns? In a Battle Royale game? Perposterous.
Many popular Fortnite Creative maps, such as Only Up islands, received the lowest possible age ratings, blocking players from using several purchased cosmetics that feature weapons, holsters, bullets, and similar imagery while playing. This includes loading screens and music packs, which are only visible/audible to the player themselves.
Of the 228 skins I own, 23 were disabled on experiences with a rating below T for Teen. This included the likes of Lara Croft, Deadpool, Doctor Doom, Venom, Carnage, and even Agent Peely, a banana in a two-piece suit. Michael Myers and Kratos are completely fine, however.
This questionable change comes at a time when Epic Games is seemingly shifting Fortnite from a Battle Royale game into a user-driven creative platform.
In September 2023, Epic laid off around 16% of its workforce, while island creators who partnered with the company were able to earn an increased amount of money from their creations.
With decisions like these, along with the overall decline in Fortnite’s quality of storytelling in recent months, fans are beginning to feel like Battle Royale is being placed on the back burner. Creative maps can be a blast, and the talent behind them is often astonishing, but pouring fewer resources into the mode that recently hit its highest concurrent player count has left a sour taste in players’ mouths.
“If these cosmetics restrictions doesn’t [sic] get removed, I can’t see myself supporting the game anymore,” is a sentiment shared on X by I Talk, a Fortnite content creator with 1.09 million subscribers and over 453,000,000 views.
Candywing, another popular content creator partnered with the incredibly influential map creators Good Game, shared his thoughts in the post below.
The announcement on Fortnite’s official X account went precisely as expected. Thousands rushed to the replies to reply with dissatisfaction and confusion and some hilarious posts. Here are the highlights:
There are no retrospective refunds available, though there is now a warning when purchasing a skin that can’t be used in all experiences.
Ironically, this update was implemented alongside the addition of cosmetics from Invincible, an Amazon Prime series with a TV-MA rating. While this may be a sign that Fortnite isn’t pushing too far into family-friendly territory, only time will tell on the effect Fortnite’s recent changes will have on the game and its community.
- This article was updated on November 21st, 2023