Sandiaga Uno, the minister for Indonesia’s tourism and creative economy, wants Epic Games’ popular battle royale game to be banned in the country.
According to CNN Indonesia, a user-created map allowed players to destroy something that strongly resembles the Kaaba (a sacred site for Muslims, which can be found in Mecca in Saudi Arabia). Epic Games has responded with a statement that claimed Fortnite doesn’t allow players to destroy the in-game structure. (It might happen later when the game gets an upgrade to Unreal Engine 5. Maybe. But it runs on UE4 at the moment.)
CNN Indonesia claims Sandiaga said he’d heard that the structure can be destroyed in Fortnite to gain weapons and progress through a level. „The game Fortnite is directly against lofty values, especially religious ones. This can trigger disrespectful behaviour between religious communities and encourage acts of violence. Therefore, I instruct the team to review and immediately issue a ban. We also want to warn some game developers to be careful,” Sandiaga said in a statement.
Epic Games’ statement was posted on Facebook, and it said: „We would like to emphasise that our team respects all religions and we work closely with the in-game content makers of our players to provide a safe gaming experience for all of our players.” The map in question is made in the game’s creative mode, as it allows players to make custom maps and game modes in a sandbox environment, and the result can be shared online.
Johnny G. Plate, Indonesia’s minister of communication and information, acknowledged that the map was not made by Epic, so he’s planning to work together with the nation’s police to find the creator of the offending map. And Sandiaga has not reviewed his stance on the ban.
Even if the ban does go through, it will likely not be upheld for long.