Fortnite fans are calling the game’s newest update the “worst in history” after the previously-announced introduction of age ratings to all Creative islands also came with the added side effect of rating and restricting the use of some cosmetic items. All cosmetic items now have their own age rating, and if the item isn’t compatible with the island’s rating, it either can’t be equipped inside that island – or is replaced with a default item if already equipped.
Epic Games described the new rating system as a way to “help players make informed play decisions about the thousands of games and other experiences in Fortnite” in a blog post outlining the feature. The post also confirmed that “while there are thousands of Fortnite cosmetics available for all experiences, a small portion are not compatible with E or E10+ (or regionally equivalent) game ratings.”
Fortnite’s Battle Royale and Zero Build modes are rated by the US standard T (Teen), so won’t be subject to any cosmetic restrictions. Despite the most popular game modes being fair game for any purchased cosmetics, players are still up in arms about the restricted use of purchased cosmetics – to the point a petition is now circulating the internet calling for the system to be “re-evaluated” with over three thousand signatures at the time of writing.
After some pretty major community backlash, with some suggesting the change “ruined” Fortnite so soon after the much-hyped reintroduction of the OG map this season, Epic Games added an updated statement to the blog post to clarify the change. “About 7% of Fortnite Outfits can only be equipped in islands rated Teen,” the statement reads. “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.” It looks like those Teen and up skins will get a more family-friendly version so they can be equipped anywhere come 2024, although that hasn’t fully placated frustrated players.
The introduction of age restrictions on Fortnite cosmetics ironically comes just as well-known leaker Shiina shared screenshots suggesting 18+ show Invincible characters Omni-Man, Invincible, and Atom Eve skins would be landing in the in-game store soon (alongside the severed head of the Immortal as new back bling). If the leak is correct, we’re hazarding a guess Omni-Man and friends won’t be allowed on E-rated islands either.
But that’s not all
Island (and cosmetic) age ratings aren’t the only new feature coming to Fortnite either, with Epic Games announcing the introduction of voice reporting in-game today. In addition to being able to block, mute, and report other players, you can now also “submit audio evidence” alongside reports. In the blog post confirming the news, the developer said voice reporting would help Fortnite “take action against players using voice chat to bully, harass, discriminate, or engage in other inappropriate behaviour.”
When voice reporting is on, the last five minutes of Fortnite voice chat audio are captured “on a rolling basis,” meaning as new audio is captured, any previous audio that’s more than five minutes old is automatically deleted. When a conversation is reported, the captured audio is uploaded alongside the report and sent to Epic moderators to review. Epic Games confirmed that they don’t have the means to access voice chat audio unless reporting is switched on and a report is submitted, though.
It’s been a big day for Fortnite in the news, and it looks like Epic is pretty likely to continue getting reamed for the age rating update until players can rep their cosmetics anywhere, any time. Whether the amendment of skins altering to become more family-friendly is enough to allay concerns isn’t clear just yet, but for now the memes coming from frustrated gamers are pretty solid as a silver lining.
Lead Image Credit: Epic Games