Yesterday’s internet outrage revolved around an artist who accused Epic Games of stealing one of their illustrations to use for a skin in Fortnite: Battle Royale. The skin in question is the Taro skin, which the artist accused Epic of stealing, based on their art that was uploaded to DeviantArt last year.

You can see a side-by-side comparison of the two images above: the art is on the left and the Fortnite skin is on the right. Pretty obvious case of art plagiarism, no? And, “popular” as Epic is these days, it’s yet another black mark on the company. Shame!

Except it’s not.

Multiple people (here’s a good breakdown) have laid out reasoning that concludes that the “original” art was actually uploaded recently, perhaps even yesterday, well after the Taro skin was added to Fortnite. In brief, DeviantArt only indicates when a piece has been uploaded, not when it’s been changed. So it would have been a simple matter for the artist to replace an old piece of art with the “new” Taro illustration and claim that it was uploaded at its original date, months ago.

Fortunately, cached web pages indicated that the image in question was indeed uploaded only recently, best illustrated by this Tweet:

Epic Games has said that it’s “in the process of investigating” the claims, but that shouldn’t take too long.

This all started making the rounds early yesterday evening, March 31. Considering that the artist — who we’re not linking to — appears to be a native Spanish speaker, it’s possible that the whole thing was a stroke-of-midnight April Fool’s joke originating in a European time zone. If so, it was effective, getting a lot of people (myself included) on the torches-and-pitchforks bandwagon. At this point, though, I’ll bet they wish they hadn’t been quite so “clever.”

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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