UPDATE 23/3/21 4pm UK: Fortnite will refund all purchases of the Wild music track, an Epic spokesperson has told Eurogamer. The item should not have been included in the game's item shop, the company confirmed, and its appearance did not constitute a change of any rules around the exclusivity of battle pass items.
The Item Shop version of the Wild Lobby Track will be removed from Lockers. (The Battle Pass Reward version will remain for players who unlocked it.)— Fortnite Status (@FortniteStatus) March 23, 2021
Players who purchased or gifted the Item Shop version will be returned the V-Bucks they spent. pic.twitter.com/5jH2sX6S9T
ORIGINAL STORY 12pm UK: Epic Games has updated Fortnite's in-game shop to remove an item released last night which comes from the game's current battle pass.
The Wild music track, which features the soundtrack from Fortnite's recent Zero Crisis Finale event, was available to buy for several hours. It's currently part of the game's Chapter 2 Season 6 battle pass, as its tier 70 reward.
In over three years, Fortnite has never sold a battle pass reward separately via the game's item shop - and doing so breaks a key promise made by Epic that battle pass items will never be placed on sale separately at a later date.
Fans were quick to kick off at a perceived change to Epic's rules, and a spokesperson for the company soon confirmed the music would be pulled.
"Shouldn't be there," gstaffEpic wrote on the /FortNiteBR reddit. "We'll be taking it out of the store."
An hour later, Epic used its Fortnite Status Twitter account to issue an official statement:
"The Wild Lobby Track was made available in the Item Shop today despite also being a Battle Pass Reward," Epic wrote. "We realise that this was a mistake and will be removing it from the Item Shop."
The Wild Lobby Track was made available in the Item Shop today despite also being a Battle Pass Reward. We realize that this was a mistake and will be removing it from the Item Shop. pic.twitter.com/aZi94OKdTA— Fortnite Status (@FortniteStatus) March 23, 2021
So, what happened? Epic hasn't explained the matter further, though it's clear this wasn't just a last-minute snafu. The release of the Wild music track was tweeted via now-deleted posts on the game's social channels with animated samples of the track. It was also separately uploaded to the game's YouTube for you to listen to - and this is still live, below.
One explanation suggested by some fans is that Wild was originally intended as a shop item only to be swapped into the battle pass at the last moment - and only after the game's item shop contents and social posts were all scheduled ahead of time. If true, this would mean Epic decides what it will sell in Fortnite's popular in-game shop weeks in advance and then programs it all in at that point.
Back in 2019, Epic was forced to U-turn on the release of Gunner, a reskinned pet dog that was almost identical to one previously part of a battle pass.
"We should not have released the Gunner Pet and apologise for doing so," Epic said at the time. Gunner was refunded, and then excised from Fortnite's files completely, never to return.
Epic is yet to refund purchases of Wild, though is expected to do so shortly. We've contacted the company for more.