Earlier this week, Fortnite created a stir with a special Martin Luther King Jr. event in the game, which was designed to honor the civil rights icon’s legacy. In recent years, the Epic blockbuster hit has pushed the boundaries of what a video game can do, presenting in-game concerts, movie trailers, and other non-competitive events.
However, considering the sensitivity of racial relations in America and the frequently tense relationship that gaming and gamers have with race in general, the event commemorating King was met with mistrust. To some, something as simple as a virtual exhibit paying proper honor to one of the most important Americans in American history was enticing the more heartless in the Fortnite realm to generate memes. That appears to have been the case until Epic intervened.
Epic was compelled to disable all emotes available in the game except the special ones that come with the exhibit itself, as Kotaku reported on Friday. This comes after videos of users in various skins dancing and performing some of the game’s most poisonous emotes went viral online. What’s more fascinating is that, according to the source, several emotes have already been removed from the game in preparation for this new event. And the game has had concerns with users utilizing emotes during critical events, such as its We The People event last July 4 addressing race in America.
It’s not a surprise that this happened, in other words, but it’s curious that Epic didn’t foresee this problem coming until players had the chance to make it weird for a day or so first.