Epic Games have been pretty vocal about the big changes to Fortnite in the battle royale's new season. The entire map is full of water, if you hadn't seen. Another change came in without the same fanfare. Players have noticed that Epic have also removed all the police cars from the game, including Creative mode maps. Epic haven't made an official statement on the subject, but it would seem the removal is likely related to global protests against police brutality.
In their battle pass trailer for Chapter 2 - Season 3, Epic Games teased that players will soon be able to drive vehicles around the map. The trucks, cars, ice cream vans, and police cars that were once immovable material fodder around the map will soon be operable. That feature hasn't made it to the game yet, but it's been preceded by another car-related change.
Kotaku reported last week that players had started to notice police vehicles were nowhere to be seen in game. It's not just in the battle royale, either. Players who've made Creative maps say that police cars have vanished from their games as well. They've been replaced with standard cars. Originally, Epic Games declined to comment on the removal.
Now, The Wall Street Journal (mind the paywall) cite a source they say is familiar with Fortnite's development confirming that the change was indeed intentional. "I wouldn’t say it’s a political statement. I think it’s just us being sensitive about the issues many people in our audience are dealing with," their source says.
Multiple Reddit users have speculated that Epic don't want players to be able to kill one another by shooting from police cars once vehicles become operable later in the season. That sounds likely to me, frankly. It doesn't stretch the imagination to predict that driveable police cars might spark some tasteless "jokes," or worse, especially in a competitive multiplayer setting.
As we saw last week with Rockstar blocking KKK griefers in Read Dead Online, sometimes the quickest solution to cutting down on racially-motivated griefing is to take away the tools.
Previously, Epic had delayed the new Fortnite season, saying "recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color."
We don't know if police cars are gone from Fortnite for good, but it doesn't sound like you'll be getting behind the wheel and flipping on the flashers when other vehicles start their engines later this season.
If you've not jumped in to Fortnite since the big flood, you might like to know that the new sharks have absolutely no chill. Be safe out there, royalers.