In recent years, video gaming has been completely changed and you cannot predict anything that’s going to happen next, well, at least not in the year 2020. While everyone was busy playing shooter games such as Valorant and CS: GO, who knows that somewhere a game that was published in 2018 preparing itself to gain popularity in 2020. Here we have covered everything that you need to know about the InnerSloth’s Among Us success story and become the most-watched game on Twitch.
Among Us Gameplay
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 whole purpose of a crew in-game is to win the game by completing all given tasks before murdered or by finding and eliminating all the Impostors while on the other hand; 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 game can take place on one of three maps: a spaceship (The Skeld), a headquarters building (Mira HQ), or a planet base (Polus).
Impostors are also 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 in the game, they become ghosts. They can also interact with the map but in a limited way and are invisible to everyone except other ghosts. However, ghosts have the ability to pass through walls. The sole purpose of the ghosts is to help their living crewmates by completing tasks and performing sabotages for teammate and Impostor ghosts.
When an Impostor performs 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.
All players, aside from ghosts have a limited cone of vision, which allows for players to hide from view of other players despite the game’s top-down perspective.
If any crewmate finds a dead body they can report it, which will lead to a team meeting where all other gameplay is halted and all 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. Players may also call an “emergency meeting” by pressing a button on the map at any time.
The game doesn’t in-built voice chat feature but it is common for gamers/players to use third-party software for discussion like Discord while playing. Though, the game has text-chat featured wherein players can communicate during meetings and only if they are alive. However, ghosts can speak with each other.
The game has several other features in respect of customizing the gameplay such as vision range and emergency meetings, which are available in each game lobby. Players can also customize their characters with cosmetic options, including spacesuit colors, skins, hats, and pets, some of which are paid downloadable content.
Among Us Background
‘Among Us’ was first released on June 15, 2018, developed and published by American game studio InnerSloth. The game was inspired by a real-life party game Mafia. It was initially developed for only mobile local multiplayer with a single map and released on both iOS and Andriod. Among Us had an average player count of 30 to 50 players simultaneously.
The initial release of the game was not going well. The designer of the game Marcus Bromander deemed that is was because of InnerSloth bad marketing in an interview. The team behind the game intended to give up on it several times, but continued work on it due to a “small but vocal player base”. Soon they added an online multiplayer feature, news tasks, character customization, and later that year, a Steam release. Cross-platform play support was available upon release of the PC version, and in 2019, two additional maps, Mira HQ and Polus, were added in the game.
According to the Forest Willard, the programmer, and CEO of Innersloth, 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’s player base.
Marcus Bromander, the designer of the game, 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.
InnerSloth has planned to release the game on PS$ and Xbox One, but they have encountered a problem in implementing player communication. Chatting on a stream Willard said, “[A console port] is something we’re starting to talk about.”
“But we’d have to write a system for quick comms … for randoms, like Rocket League. I don’t know if we’d be able to implement console voice chat or not … One of the first things we’d want to add is a friend’s list type of account system … because it’s so hard to do anything without it,” he added.
Currently, Among Us doesn’t have a built-in voice chat functionality. Players need to either use the in-game chatroom or hop on their own voice chat app, like Discord, if they actually want to speak to players in a lobby. InnerSloth could technically leverage the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live’s voice chat servers, but the real issue would be figuring out a way for players who don’t want to use voice comms to still play.
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.
Among Us Popularity
According to Simon Carless Discord chat, YouTubers have discovered this game extensively before, just not English-language ones. Some of that early spike “..started with Godenot (3.6M sub Youtuber) [earlier in 2019] who found our game on Google Play (probably recommended by players? Possibly via Itch.io, even… I know he streamed from mobile before switching to PC.) We had considered wrapping up Among Us back then, because profitability was not in sight. But the Brazilian audience drove us to create more content, and that was wise.”
As for another major territory in question: “Our first audience was Korea, and they still constitute 50% of our Steam Among Us sales. That all started in Dec 2018 with Kevin Choi. He found Among Us via itch.io, and I think that’s because we got a day of promotion on the front page. This is literally the only promotion we have expressly asked for.”
This sums up that the game was already popular and had good retention in other countries way before this big viral spike in North America and Europe. But it looks like those who saw streamers playing the game gravitated towards the free mobile version – also because those territories play more mobile than PC games. And heck, the game hit a million downloads overall in May 2019. So, it wasn’t exactly ‘unknown’.
Steam supported the game
— Steam (@Steam) February 17, 2020
This year’s Steam Summer sale actually helped Among Us and helped to be out there. In a blog post published on Gamasutra by Simon Carless, shared the whole story’s behind the scenes.
Was there any hint that the game could also do well on Steam? Well, yes – not least because Valve itself took notice. ForteBass takes up the story here: “In February 2020, Steam reached out to us for a daily deal, and we went for 50% off. If I remember rightly, each of those two days produced an entire month of sales and left us with a higher baseline of sales after, as well as a boatload of wishlists. So that in turn made our Summer sale worthwhile – which snowballed into minor top seller visibility. (#35-ish).”
So, sounds like the Steam featuring helped step the game up visibility-wise. And at this point, Among Us – which was already great – had been polished and had extra maps, pets, and many rounds of bugfixes in place. So it was well set-up to break out, if somebody noticed it.
ForteBass speculates: “But why did we get a daily deal [in Feb]? Well, I didn’t ask, but at the beginning of the year, Kaif (a… UK streamer) and his friends picked us up. We were already profitable by that point and actually had just announced Among Us as complete, which caused a sizable drop off of players. Kaif completely reversed that and brought in a wave of new European players (a new-ish market for us), particularly on Steam (which was our #2 marketplace at that time).”
And that gets us to the current day. Or at least to mid-July, where things got really crazy for the team. Rounding the story off: “First, yes, Twitch streams are the cause of our [most recent] spike. This started just after the Steam Summer sale, which is actually pretty important for us as a 2 year-old game which cost 5 dollars that has already reached 75% off. Pluto and Sodapoppin’s timing was impeccable… I haven’t talked to Pluto yet, but I’d bet that he found Among Us during the 2020 summer sale, which frankly, is the only Big Steam Sale that’s gone well for us.”
And indeed, Reddit sleuths have pinpointed the exact Twitch VOD where everything took off. Sometimes it takes one big streamer to ignite his peers and looks like that’s what happened in this case. (Among Us is particularly good for streamers because it pulls in the ‘play with your streamer buddies, and you can cross-promote between your channels’ thing. Plus – the drama!)
Among Us – FAQ’s
Below we’ve answered some of the most popular questions about the game.
Where to download Among Us for PC?
Among is available for mobile?
Can I download Among Us on Mac?
You can’t download and play directly Among Us on Mac. But you can download an Android emulator, which will let you download and run Andriod apps and games on your system.
Is Among Us Free?
Among is free to play for only mobile users (both iOS and Andriod) but the PC version is paid and you’ve to purchase it and it cost $5.00.