Among Us

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Among Us
Cartoon astronauts in spacesuits floating through space. A bright light, a spaceship, and many stars are visible behind them. In front of them is the words "Among Us", with the "A" replaced by an astronaut.
Developer(s)InnerSloth
Publisher(s)InnerSloth
Designer(s)Marcus Bromander[a][2][3]
Programmer(s)Forest Willard[2][3]
Artist(s)Marcus Bromander[a]
Amy Liu[2][3]
EngineUnity
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s)Party, social deduction
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Among Us[b] is an online multiplayer social deduction game, developed and published by American[2] game studio InnerSloth and released on June 15, 2018. The game takes place in a space-themed setting where players each take on one of two roles, most being Crewmates, and a predetermined number being Impostors. The goal for the Crewmates is to identify the Impostors, eliminate them, and complete tasks around the map, and the Impostors' goal is to kill the Crewmates without being identified.

While initially released in 2018 to little mainstream attention, it received an influx of popularity in 2020 due to many well-known Twitch streamers and YouTubers playing it. In response to the game's popularity, a sequel, Among Us 2, was announced in 2020.

Gameplay[edit]

A white-suited astronaut named "Buddy" (the player) is standing in front of an unnamed blue-suited corpse. The room they are in is labeled "Admin". In the hallway, slightly obscured by the sight line mechanic, is a pink-suited astronaut named "Chum". In the upper-left corner of the player's screen there is a fake list of tasks as well as the player's goal: to kill all Crewmates. The player also has the option to Use, Report, Sabotage, and Kill. As the player has just killed, the button is on cooldown and faded.
An Impostor (white) has killed a Crewmate (blue), with another player (pink) having witnessed the murder. Either of the two living players may report the corpse.

Among Us is a multiplayer game, supporting 4–10 players. 1–3 of these players are randomly selected each game to be Impostors, while the rest are Crewmates. The game can take place on one of three maps: a spaceship (The Skeld), a headquarters building (Mira HQ), or a planet base (Polus).[1] Crewmates are given tasks to complete around the map in the form of minigames, consisting of maintenance work on vital systems, such as electrical rewiring and fueling engines. Impostors are given a fake list of tasks in order to blend in with Crewmates and have the ability to sabotage the map's systems, traverse vents, identify any other Impostors, and murder Crewmates. If a player dies, they become a ghost; ghosts have the ability to pass through walls, but can only interact with the world in limited ways and are invisible to everyone except other ghosts.[11][12] All players, aside from ghosts,[13] have a limited cone of vision, which allows for players to hide from view of other players despite the game's top-down perspective.[14]

The Crewmates win by completing all tasks before being murdered or by finding and eliminating all the Impostors; for the Impostors to win, they must kill enough Crewmates such that the number of Impostor(s) is equal to the number of Crewmate(s) or have a sabotage countdown run out; the goal of ghosts is to help their living teammates by completing tasks and performing sabotages for Crewmate and Impostor ghosts, respectively. When an Impostor performs a sabotage, there is either an immediate consequence (such as all the lights being turned off) or a countdown will begin, and the sabotage must be resolved before it finishes, or else all the Crewmates will die. Sabotages can be resolved by players in varying ways depending on which sabotage is done.[11][12][15]

If a player finds a dead body, they can report it, which will lead to a group meeting where all other gameplay is halted and players discuss who they believe an Impostor is based on the evidence surrounding the murder. If a majority vote is reached, the chosen person is ejected from the map and dies.[11][12] Players may also call an "emergency meeting" by pressing a button in the map at any time.[16][17][12] The game can either be played in a text chat,[11] wherein players can only communicate during meetings, and only if they are alive, although ghosts can speak with each other.[12][14][15] Although the game does not have a built-in voice chat system, it is common for players to use external programs such as Discord while playing.[18][19][20] Various customization options to aspects of gameplay, such as vision range and emergency meetings, are available in each game's lobby.[21][14] There are also many cosmetic options including skins, hats, and pets, some of which are paid downloadable content.[14][22][8]

Development, release, and popularity[edit]

Among Us was inspired by the real-life party game Mafia, and was initially intended to be a mobile-only local multiplayer game with a single map. In June 2018, the game released to Android and iOS. Shortly after release, Among Us had an average player count of 30 to 50 players simultaneously.[21] Programmer Forest Willard deemed that "it didn’t release super well" which designer Marcus Bromander believed was because the team "[is] really bad at marketing". After receiving feedback from players, the team decided to add online multiplayer, and later that year, a Steam release.[3] Cross-platform play support was available upon release.[23] In 2019, two additional maps, Mira HQ and Polus, were added.[24][25]

According to Willard, the team stuck with the game "a lot longer than we probably should have from a pure business standpoint", putting out regular updates to the game as often as once per week. This led to a steady increase in players, "snowball[ing]" the game into popularity. Bromander stated their ability to do this was due to them having enough savings, allowing them to keep working on the game even while it was not selling particularly well.[3]

In 2020, a surge in popularity made by content creators online was started in South Korea and Brazil and eventually made its way into the English-speaking world. Bromander stated that Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea are even more popular locations for the game than the United States.[3][22] According to Willard, Twitch streamer Chance "Sodapoppin" Morris made the game popular on Twitch in July 2020.[3] Following this, many other Twitch streamers and YouTubers began playing Among Us, and the game's player count quickly rose and eventually peaked to 1.5 million concurrent players.[26][27][28][1][29] This proved to be a struggle for the game's servers,[1] leading developer InnerSloth to focus on a sequel rather than expanding the original game,[10][9][8][7] although Willard and Liu did work on increasing the maximum playerbase, adding four servers, three regions,[30] and longer game codes to allow for more concurrent games to be supported.[31] During its time of widespread popularity, Among Us was controversially played by the U.S. Navy Esports team, in which players on the stream used in-game names referencing the n-word and the bombing of Nagasaki, deemed "offensive" and "intolerable" by many viewers.[32][33][34][35]

The team planned to release the game to consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One, but encountered a problem in implementing player communication, as standard text-based or voice-based chat seemed unusable. They considered a system similar to the "quick comms" system from Rocket League, as well as the possibility of developing an entirely new communication system for the game. As of September 2020, it is currently unknown what state the development of the ports is in, though they are at least considering making them.[18][19]

Reception[edit]

Craig Pearson of Rock, Paper, Shotgun found playing as an Impostor "a lot more fun" than playing as a Crewmate, which he called "exhausting".[11] In reference to the game's popularity among streamers, Evelyn Lau of The National said: "Watching the reactions of people trying to guess who the imposter is (and sometimes getting it very wrong) or lying terribly about not being the imposter is all quite entertaining."[12] Alice O'Conner of Rock, Paper, Shotgun described the game as "Mafia or Werewolf but with minigames".[36]

Among Us has been frequently compared to Fall Guys, in that both are online party games which became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.[3][37][38][20] Comparisons have also been made to the film The Thing.[16][39][40]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Better known as "Puffballs United".[1]
  2. ^ Stylized as Among Us! on the iOS App Store[5] and named Space Mafia in its Google Play URL.[6] When discussing its sequel, the game has been given the retronym of Among Us 1 by the game's developers as well as several news outlets.[7][8][9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lugris, Mark (September 9, 2020). "InnerSloth's Party Game Among Us Reaches 1.5 Million Simultaneous Players". TheGamer. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "About". InnerSloth. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Grayson, Nathan (September 8, 2020). "Among Us' Improbable Rise To The Top Of Twitch". Kotaku Australia. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "PC and Online Released! - Among Us by Innersloth". itch.io. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "‎Among Us!". App Store. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  6. ^ "Among Us - Apps on Google Play". play.google.com. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Among Us 2 - Among Us by Innersloth". itch.io. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Brian, Renadette (August 19, 2020). "Among Us 2 Announced Following First Game's Huge Surge In Popularity". Game Rant. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Perrault, Patrick (August 18, 2020). "Among Us 2 Announced". TechRaptor. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Manson, Leonard (September 4, 2020). "Among Us 2 confirmed for PC and mobile; first details". Somag News. Archived from the original on September 4, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e Pearson, Craig (August 27, 2020). "Among Us has made a lying murderer out of me". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Lau, Evelyn (September 8, 2020). "'Among Us': what to know about the online survival game that's all about deceit". The National. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  13. ^ Paez, Danny. "3 'Among Us' ghost tips to help your team win from beyond the grave". Inverse. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d Penney, Andrew (September 16, 2020). "Among Us Review: A Perfect Way To Ruin Your Friendships". TheGamer. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Matthews, Emma (September 15, 2020). "Deceive your friends with these sneaky Among Us tips". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Marshall, Cass (September 11, 2020). "Why Among Us' Emergency Meeting is the big social media mood". Polygon. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  17. ^ Marshall, Cass (September 18, 2020). "New Among Us players keep accidentally outing themselves as aliens". Polygon. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Winslow, Jeremy (September 18, 2020). "Among Us PS4, Xbox One Port More Complicated Than You Think". GameSpot. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Paez, Danny (September 17, 2020). "'Among Us' dev offers disappointing update on progress for Xbox, PS4 ports". Inverse. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  20. ^ a b Matthews, Emma (August 25, 2020). "Why Among Us is the best game to watch on Twitch right now". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Joseph, Funké (September 4, 2020). "Why Among Us Became One of the Biggest Games on Twitch Two Years After Release". Paste. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Carless, Simon (September 10, 2020). "Behind the dizzying ride to the top for Among Us". Gamasutra. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  23. ^ Matthews, Emma (September 10, 2020). "How crossplay works in Among Us". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  24. ^ "MIRA HQ Launched! - Among Us by Innersloth". itch.io. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  25. ^ "Polus Map Launched! - Among Us by Innersloth". itch.io. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  26. ^ Macgregor, Jody (September 9, 2020). "Multiplayer space mystery Among Us hits 1.5 million simultaneous players". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  27. ^ O'Connor, Alice (September 8, 2020). "Among Us had 1.5 million people playing at the same time this weekend". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  28. ^ Bailey, Dustin (September 7, 2020). "Among Us reaches 1.5 million concurrent players". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  29. ^ Zheng, Jenny (September 18, 2020). "Among Us Is Really, Really Popular Right Now". GameSpot. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  30. ^ Willard, Forest (September 1, 2020). "Among Us Beta 2020.9.1 :: Among Us General Discussions". steamcommunity.com. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  31. ^ Willard, Forest (September 10, 2020). "Servers Update (2020.9.9 beta) :: Among Us General Discussions". steamcommunity.com. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  32. ^ Lemon, Jacon (September 13, 2020). "US Navy's Twitch account criticized for streaming games with offensive player names". Newsweek. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  33. ^ Gault, Matthew (September 14, 2020). "A U.S. Navy Twitch Stream Included Jokes About Nagasaki and the N-Word". Vice. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  34. ^ Grayson, Nathan (September 15, 2020). "Navy Twitch Stream Spirals Out Of Control Due To Slur, War Crime Jokes". Kotaku Australia. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  35. ^ Marchetto, Claudia (September 14, 2020). "Among Us: la Marina americana lo gioca su Twitch usando nickname razzisti ed è bufera". Eurogamer.it (in Italian). Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  36. ^ O'Conner, Alice (September 8, 2020). "Among Us had 1.5 million people playing at the same time this weekend". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  37. ^ Grimm, Peter (September 7, 2020). "Among Us Hits Impressive Concurrent Player Milestone". Game Rant. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  38. ^ Baird, Scott (September 7, 2020). "Fall Guys Is Number One On Steam's Bestselling List For Fifth Week In A Row". TheGamer. Archived from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  39. ^ Rothery, Jen (August 26, 2020). "The best games like Among Us: seven of the top social deduction and imposter games". PCGamesN. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  40. ^ Smith, Callum (September 8, 2020). "Is Among Us on console for PS4 and Xbox One? Why the game is so popular now". HITC. Retrieved September 14, 2020.

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