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WASHINGTON, USA – The creators of Fortnite have removed police cars from the massively popular video game over concerns about the ongoing protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, June 21.
Fortnite involves a virtual world where users must survive by searching for weapons and resources while eliminating competitors, and is one of the most popular video games in the world with hundreds of millions of users.
The game launched a new version last week, but there were no police cars in that update, the WSJ reported, citing a person familiar with the development of the title.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a political statement,” the person told the WSJ. “I think it’s just us being sensitive about the issues many people in our audience are dealing with.”
Epic Games, Fortnite’s creator did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
The game’s virtual world previously contained police cars, but those could no longer be seen in the latest version, gaming news site Kotaku said, as a number of players on social media also posted about the absence.
The behavior of law enforcement in the United States is under sharp focus after the killing in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who pleaded for his life as a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.
The incident sparked protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and beyond, and many businesses – including popular video game companies – have also offered support to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Gaming giant Electronic Arts, which owns the popular Need for Speed, FIFA and Battlefield titles, pledged $1 million to organizations fighting against racism and discrimination, and later also vowed to take steps against toxic behavior on its online gaming platforms. – Rappler.com