6 snapshots of Among Us game development that capture its rise to viral fame
The unlikely fusion of classic party game Mafia and sci-fi horror flick The Thing served as the creative sparks that ignited the early development of Among Us. Marcus Bromander, a key supporter of Innersloth, drew inspiration from his childhood love of Mafia to conceive the game’s basic concept. The original version saw players gathering around a house, with one person randomly “killing” others by placing a finger around their necks. From there, the game evolved into its now-famous space-themed setting, complete with an array of engaging tasks. As Innersloth’s software engineer Forest Willard noted, the game underwent several transformations throughout its development, resulting in the viral sensation that it is today.
Among Us may have achieved astronomical success in 2020, but its beginnings were humble and uncertain. In November 2017, development on the game commenced with the goal of creating a local multiplayer game for portable devices with a single guide. However, Marcus Bromander, a key player in Innersloth’s team, put the game on hold to focus on another project – the Henry Stickmin Collection. It was only after this that the team returned to Among Us and began working on its first map, The Skeld. Despite initial expectations that the game would involve players trying to save a sinking ship, playtesting revealed that the layout was too cramped for meaningful detective work and conversations. The team pushed on, however, and eventually settled on a more open design. Even then, playtesting proved difficult, with the team struggling to find enough players to fill out a game. It was with persistence and determination, using the Unity engine, that Among Us finally found its footing and grew into the viral sensation that it is today.
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Among us game in 2018
The road to success was not an easy one for Among Us. When the game was first released on Android and iOS in June 2018 under the AppID “space mafia,” it struggled to gain traction, with only 30 to 50 concurrent players. Innersloth’s poor promotion efforts contributed to the game’s lackluster debut, and the team even considered abandoning the project altogether. However, a small but passionate player base encouraged them to keep going. In response, Innersloth added online multiplayer, more missions, and customization options, which helped the game gain some momentum. The game’s release on Steam on November 16, 2018, further boosted its popularity and enabled cross-platform play. To maintain the game’s secrecy, sound engineer Forest Willard cleverly combined sounds from multiple sound packs to create the game’s SFX during its Steam release, ensuring that no sensitive data was revealed from a nearby location.
The contest in 2019
Innersloth continued to expand the game by adding new maps and content over time. MIRA HQ, the second map, was introduced on August 8, 2019, as a tightly-packed command center similar in size to The Skeld. The third map, Polus, was released on November 12, 2019, and is set in an exploration station. The fourth and most recent map, Airship, was launched on March 31, 2021, and is located in the cosmos of Henry Stickmin. Initially, MIRA HQ and Polus were available as in-app purchases for $4 each, but their prices were later reduced to $2 on January 6, 2020, before being made entirely free on June 11, 2020.
Despite staying with the game much longer than expected, releasing frequent updates (sometimes as often as once per week), and risking financial loss, the team behind Among Us never lost sight of their dedication to their community. In fact, according to software developer Forest Willard, the team’s unwavering commitment to improving the game led to a steady expansion of the game’s player base. This growth, combined with the studio’s wise financial decisions, ensured that the game’s popularity would continue to skyrocket
Events in 2020
Among Us had a meteoric rise in popularity in 2020, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the game’s development team. In August of that year, they decided to shift their focus to Among Us 2. However, due to the game’s massive player base, they ultimately decided to cancel the sequel and instead focus on improving the original game. They created new servers, zones, and multiplayer codes to accommodate more players, while also addressing server issues and implementing measures to prevent cheating.
One of the most significant updates to the game was the addition of partial assistance for the “wires” task and other customization options. However, there are still unimplemented features, such as customizable controls, a companion system, a fifth map, and new game modes, that players eagerly await. Despite these challenges, the development team’s dedication and commitment to improving the game have resulted in an even more engaging and enjoyable experience for players.
What took place in 2021?
In late February 2021, Innersloth announced a partnership with Twitch to introduce a new feature called Twitch mode, which allows streamers to connect with their viewers by revealing the imposter and ghost chat settings. This feature allows streamers to communicate more easily with their viewers, and viewers can feel more involved in the game.
On April 1, 2021, Innersloth released a limited-time April Fools’ Day update that added a new mode called “Alliance.” This mode allowed players to form alliances with each other and win as a group, rather than competing against each other to identify and eliminate the imposter. The mode was well-received by the community and sparked discussions about the potential for new game modes in the future.
Innersloth has also stated that they are working on a new map, which they have described as “huge” and “Henry Stickmin themed.” The map is still in development, but they have hinted that it will feature new tasks and interactive elements that will keep players engaged and entertained. Additionally, they are working on implementing new features, such as a friend system and improved anti-cheat measures, to enhance the game’s overall experience.