Among Us Hide and Seek Could Have Been Too Terrifying in Virtual Reality

Among Us Hide and Seek: One video game that saw a surge in sales during the pandemic was “Among Us.” Cakes, toys, and more have been inspired by the 2018 murder mystery and social deduction game set in space. In 2018, Innersloth had a three-person development team working on a party game in which a group of innocents performs mundane tasks while killers, called “impostors,” run free at night.

The players can vote off whoever they think is responsible for the murder, getting rid of the fakes before they gain a supermajority. In recent years, “Among Us” has expanded into virtual reality, merchandise, and fan art through its many partnerships with other games.

Speaking with The Washington Post in Los Angeles at the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, The Game Awards, programmer/business manager/inner sloth creator Forest Willard explained that all of the company’s success is due to his team’s hard work.

Willard emphasized that they did not expect “Among Us” to become as popular as it has become. “However, we did make an effort to make the game accessible to so-called ‘non-gamers.'” Given its contagious nature and ease of access, it’s logical.

Among Us Hide and Seek
Among Us Hide and Seek

Compared to other gaming companies, we have a pretty strong brand name regarding merchandise. In most cases, this is ignored by developers. Very labor intensive. According to Victoria Tran, who oversees Innersloth’s social media, “Among Us” has over three million followers on TikTok, making it the game’s most popular social media platform.

She explained that she has been working on expanding Innersloth’s social media presence and that the company would continue to operate normally regardless of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. “As a social media native, I have zero faith in the long-term viability of any network,” Tran declared. MySpace collapsed, and then Vine collapsed.

I have no idea what is going on with Facebook. At one time, BeReal was all the rage, but now, nobody even remembers it. According to Tran, the “Among Us” team still has a direct line to players even if Twitter were to go down because they post news within the game itself.

At The Game Awards on December 8th, “Among Us, VR” was up for best virtual or augmented reality game, but it lost to “Moss: Book II,” an adventure puzzle game. Schell Games tasked a team of more than 15 programmers with bringing “Among Us” to virtual reality, and the game was released a month ago.

Early in production, it became clear that “Among Us, VR” had all the makings of a terrifying survival game. Senior game designer at Schell Games Michal Ksiazkiewicz remarked, “It quickly became clear how scary that game can be in VR, especially when you’re now in an environment that could be creepy, surrounded by people who want to mess with you and kill you.”

Ksiazkiewicz explained that they had to give a lot of thought to how to make kill actions in the VR version of “Among Us” less spooky and horror-like for players. The developers also infused the game with color and a few jokes to lighten the mood.

Schell further streamlined the game by turning aiming within virtual reality, which Ksiazkiewicz said could be nauseating, into the press of a button for actions like stabbing other players with a knife. According to Ksiazkiewicz, “this is all about the aspect of lying to your friends,” and everything else should be in service of that. Our main objective in virtual reality was to make it as accessible as possible.

Making in-game purchases work in virtual reality is another challenge. Ksiazkiewicz admitted that they aren’t sure if they can sell more than virtual hats in VR, even though “Among Us” on console, PC, and mobile has released collaborations with “League of Legends” and “Fortnite.” While the original game features costumes and pets, neither feature has made it into the virtual reality version.

To celebrate its most extensive update of the year, “Among Us” debuted a hide-and-seek mode at the Game Awards. Willard discussed the challenges of keeping up with the massive fan interest in “Among Us” by discussing the trade-off between adding in-game content and exhausting the staff. He has been playing catch-up on business and technical issues since “Among Us” became popular.

Because “people’s demands can come much faster than any update,” Tran said, “it still feels like we’re playing catch up.” The saying goes, “It’s been both exciting and stressful.” As far as possible, crunch, or working late into the night or on the weekend, is avoided, Willard said.

You tell your direct reports not to crunch numbers, and they, in turn, tell their direct reports not to crunch numbers. Consequently, everyone will have a general idea that “I don’t want to crunch. Crunching is bad.” As Willard put it. We have crunched the numbers, and while the plan isn’t flawless, it is a work in progress. Still, we’re doing what we can to minimize the impact.

It’s not always possible to meet player expectations, especially when weighing them against development priorities, as Willard put it. “At that point, you start to ignore the players, saying things like, ‘Sorry, it’s just not high enough priority,’ and you just pace yourself.”

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