In the game Among Us, this online multiplayer social deduction game requires you to figure out just who is the murderer(s) on a spaceship. One thing is certain: just about anyone out there could be the murderer(s). The hype surrounding this game is huge so far, but there are future update plans by the game developers that could potentially end the buzz surrounding this title.
I have to kill them all. The blood-red “Impostor” letters on my phone display accelerates my heartbeat, which is hopefully inaudible on the headphones. I hear Sebastian’s concentrated breathing. A bag of chips rustles during the brief moments when Sascha’s headset failed to filter out the nervous background noise. There stands Robert. All alone, he was unable to obtain the correct card yet again. I took my chance, turning his head that has been decorated with a pirate hat, hoping that I don’t trigger a report. Then my pink body jumped right into the ventilation shaft. His silent annoyance plays out in my head.
Oh, I love Among Us. The game is probably the most hyped game in autumn 2020 and will be played cross-platform on Steam or millions of mobile devices around the world. My colleague Stefan spent his entire vacation with the game a few weeks ago, and followed it up by introducing it to our editorial office. Meanwhile, I indulge in several groups. The hype surrounding it is very real. The game is great: it is a mixture of Cluedo and a dinner surprise, if you consider Sascha’s above-mentioned chip snack.
According to market researchers, the developers of InnerSloth experienced a second win in August this year. While download numbers on mobile devices in the early months of this year hovered consistently between 1.1 million and 2.4 million, the game for iOS and Android was downloaded 18.4 million times in August, representing a growth rate of 661 percent.
But what makes Among Us, a sci-fi mystery game with funny hats, so interesting? Trying to make sense of the current hype is an extremely difficult task, as the game has been around for two and a half years already. It was released on June 15, 2018, on both Android and iOS platforms; later in August that year on Steam with Windows PCs following shortly after. It all began with a map. “The Skeld” is the smallest and probably most popular map and has proven to be especially suitable for smaller groups of players (in particular, up to seven people).
However, up to ten players can play Among Us simultaneously and be chased through the spaceship by up to three saboteurs, who are the so-called Impostors. Meanwhile, there are three playable maps, two of which are very large and confusing. My Discord crew and I are gradually getting closer through our gaming sessions.
The hype around the game has grown so huge that the game developer InnerSloth has put the sequel Among Us 2, already announced for 2021, on ice to support the hugely successful original version with all available resources. New features that were originally intended to make an appearance in the sequel will be implemented in the original version in the future.
The new content would be very extensive and will change the game’s dynamics a lot:
- There will be a new map
- There will be in-game currency
- You can report people; but there will be moderators
- You can (must?) create accounts and friend lists
- You can play with up to 15 players simultaneously
Many of these new features might scare away long-time Among Us fans, as the game lives mainly from its anonymity and simplicity. Without any in-game currency, account constraints, friend lists, you practically end up with new gaming partners from all over the world in virtually every single round of gameplay. This makes it an extremely rare and extraordinary game model, especially where mobile gaming is concerned, and is probably fundamentally responsible for the hype that surrounded the game. It remains unknown as to when the developers plan to roll out the update.
And while I secretly lock the doors in the Electrical department to flip Benny during his task, I see the report screen on my mobile light up. Sebastian has discovered Robert’s body. “So Julia was just with me in Electrical,” said Benny. I agreed, my teeth clenched, in a monotonous tone so as not to give away anything. “Status report?,” I asked in a voice that everyone was already able to discern. The decision was unanimous: Pink is called out.
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