Fortnite fans are up in arms over Epic’s decision to sell a new version of a previously Battle Pass-exclusive character via the in-game store.
Players argue this goes against Epic’s long-standing promise never to sell Battle Pass content outside of the pass and that, while the two skins differ, this character was one only available to season 5 Battle Pass owners.
The skin in question – Summer Drift – is a beachwear version of Drift, Fortnite’s poster boy for season 5.
In his new, beach-ready guise, Summer Drift sports a tan, shorts and a flowery lei. Eagle-eyed fans will note his new necklace – adorned with his trademark Kitsune mask – and new leg tattoo.
Summer Drift went on sale today at the standard legendary skin price of 1500 V-bucks (you can buy 1000 V-bucks for £8 or 2500 V-bucks for £20). And the complaints immediately started.
On the one hand, Fortnite has sold new versions of old skins already (Love Ranger and the ice-themed Frozen Ranger, Brite Bomber and the Kevin-themed Dark Bomber). But these skins did not originate in a Battle Pass.
Fortnite also regularly adds new styles (sometimes, effectively, entirely new skins) to existing characters – which people who own them already then get for free (the hugely-popular Fishstick, for example, received both season 8 and 9 styles long after his initial release).
Summer Drift was first glimpsed within the game’s files last week. At the time, fans hoped he would be available as a new style for the existing Drift character. Failing that, some fans hoped if he was going to be sold separately he would be free or discounted to season 5 Battle Pass owners. Neither has turned out to be the case.
On the surface, this is all just about a beachwear skin. But there’s a bigger picture – and fans are concerned about the precedent this sets. Players are worried this will open the floodgates to other Battle Pass-exclusive characters getting the same kind of treatment. In some cases, this could mean characters which players have sweated to unlock. Drift, as the starting skin in the season 5 Battle Pass, does not fall into this category – but the next step would be paid versions of higher tier rewards. Summer Ice King? Halloween Black Knight? Easter Omega?
“Can I just be real for a second,” pabs_10 wrote on r/Fortnite. “I’m gonna start by saying I own the original Drift and by no means am I upset. The thing I see here is that this clearly opens the door for Epic to do some controversial things.
“Just for example; if Epic was to make a ‘summer sparkle specialist’ I’m sure people would most definitely freak out hard over it. Or ‘winter renegade raider’ would also cause issues.”
“I haven’t used Drift for about three seasons and I don’t really mind this thing being in the shop but I get why (almost) everyone is mad,” added another fan, xHerroR. “Epic said it would be IMPOSSIBLE to get Battle Pass skins after the season is over so maybe that’s why (even tho this skin is different but you know it’s literally Drift).”
Fortnite’s in-game Battle Pass FAQ states that all contents of the paid-for pass are “exclusive” and will “never be on sale again”.
But not everyone is upset.
“Honestly I’m glad it’s a shop skin,” HoveringPorridge countered. “There are plenty of people that want the Drift skin that may not have had the chance to get him, and now they can!”
We’ve contacted Epic for its take.