Epic Games faces backlash over age-restricted Fortnite skins

Epic Games faces backlash over age-restricted Fortnite skins
Images via Epic Games

Written by 

Tom Chapman


17th Nov 2023 10:28

Epic Games has once again found itself in hot water, and this time, Fortnite players are demanding refunds following the latest update. While we're enjoying the heady nostalgia of returning to the Chapter 1 map, Epic is looking to the future and slipped in some sneaky restrictions while thinking we wouldn't notice.

The latest Fortnite update has taken us back to Chapter 1 Season 7, adding Frosty Flights and planes to the mix for the festive season. That's all well and good, but you might've noticed that there have been changes off the map, with age restrictions being slapped on skins, Creative islands, and more.

Epic Games slaps Fortnite with age restrictions 

Posting on the Epic Games site, the developer confirmed the new rating system, which will see an ESRB-inspired rating placed on various skins and content. Although some of these can be changed via parental controls, it's left a nasty taste in the mouths of players.

Epic explained, "Every experience (“island”) published in Fortnite will display its own age and content rating. This is to help parents and players make informed play decisions about the thousands of games and other experiences in Fortnite!"

The new Island rating system has wider ramifications, as it'll also affect skins. A few skins are outside the E+ (or its regional equivalent) rating, so they can't be used on these age-restricted islands. If you try to equip one on an island below a certain rating threshold, they'll default to the default skin.

Fortnite is known for its family-friendly aesthetic, and while that's all well and good when you're chirpily shipping around as Lil' Whip, skins like Alien's Xenomorph are being placed behind these restrictions. It's also anything with a gun, meaning you can't play as Toon Meowscles, but Michael Myers is fine. Go figure

Fortnite players are demanding refunds

It's important to note that Save the World and Battle Royale's 12+ ratings mean all skins are playable in these modes - which is good news because they're the most popular. Still, the news has rattled the wider community. As you can imagine, this covert clampdown hasn't gone down well with the ever-cranky Fortnite fandom. 

One critic raged, "Fortnite is currently executing one of the biggest fumbles in recent history. They brought back almost all their player base with the throwback season just to restrict all their skins. You can’t make that sh*t up."

Another went further and said, "FORTNITE I can’t use a bunch of my skins in some Fortnite modes, p.s (that I paid for!)And hopper is one of my favorite skins of all time and now I can’t use him! They need to either refund me for all of these, or take away this change." 

The weirdest part is that music and loading screens have also been restricted. As the Chapter 4 Season 5 screen featured guns, it's now been swapped for a gun-free version. With some branding this as the "worst" update in Fortnite history, Epic clearly has some work to do to win you back around. Argh, and you were doing so well. 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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