Mark Rein, the Vice President of Epic Games, has responded after fans labelled himself and the developers of Fortnite “out of touch”, over the BRUTE mechs.
As the Fortnite World Cup concluded, the tenth Season started soon after, and brought with them the controversial BRUTE mechs.
These powerful vehicles are equipped with rockets and insane mobility, able to jump across large distances, deemed very overpowered by the majority of players.
However, Epic defended the mechs in a post on August 16, claiming that according to their statistics, the mechs had helped lesser skilled players, without affecting the average eliminations of more experienced players.
This explanation didn’t satisfy entirely though, especially among competitive players, who feel that esports play is being sacrificed for the sake of bringing in new players.
On August 17, Rein ‘liked’ a Twitter post which stated “Epic Games has no obligation to obey ‘whatsoever esports rules’ when their mission is to bring players of all skill levels together. […] You don’t have to like it. It’s their choice” – and this sparked ire in the community.
Pro Fortnite player Austin “Th3pacifist” Parker suggested that Rein is “out of touch with what the the competitive scene needs in order to thrive.”
Rein responded, denying that liking the tweet (which it appears he has since unliked) was not a sign of agreement.
He’s a super nice guy and down to earth. Met him at WC. Sadly he’s out of touch with what the the competitive scene needs in order to thrive.— Pacifist (@Pacifist) August 18, 2019
I use the like button on twitter as a bookmark to be able to remember and easily find things. It does not mean I agree or disagree with the thing I liked but simply that I wanted to reference it later.— Mark Rein (@MarkRein) August 18, 2019
Epic hired former Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer to head up their esports division, a move which signified continued dedication to competitive Fortnite.
However, their stubbornness over the mechs even after the overwhelming backlash perhaps indicates that they still prioritize new items and bringing in new players over keeping competitive play.