Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly, former “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro, and Instagram’s “Backpack Kid” all filed suits this month against Epic Games, saying the developer copied each of their trademark dance moves, put them in “Fortnite” as an animation, and sold them to millions of players, without permission.

 

But can you copyright a dance? Who is Backpack Kid? What is “Fortnite?” There’s a lot to unpack here.

Epic Games To those familiar with video games, developer and publisher Epic Games isn’t simply the company behind “Fortnite.” The company may most recently be best known for its massive hit, but before there was “Fortnite,” there was “Gears of War.” The company was, for years, known as the creator of the popular Xbox exclusive shooter “Gears of War,” which was headed up by developer Cliff Bleszinski. And even that wasn’t entirely accurate, because, for much of the company’s history, its big money maker has been the Unreal Engine. The Unreal Engine is proprietary software that the company created and regularly updates for use by other game developers to make their own creations.

The success of “fortnite v bucks generator” can actually be traced back to a key decision that Epic made in 2012, when it shifted away from big, boxed, marketing-driven games to a more agile company willing to give away a lot of content.

In a case of the chicken or the egg, the decision to shift to what was known internally as Epic 4.0 was driven in part by the years-long development of “Fortnite,” which began as a small indie title inside the studio, and lessons learned there, Sweeney said back in 2016.

The realization that “Fortnite” would do much better as a free-to-play, evolving game led Sweeney to realize he had to change the direction of the company. “I would describe it as seeing the writing on the wall,” Sweeney said. “There was an increasing realization that the old model wasn’t working anymore and that the new model was looking increasingly like the way to go.”

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